India will lock horns with England in the third Test of the five-match series at Rajkot on Thursday. The series is tied 1-1 after the home side bounced back in the second Test at Visakhapatnam after losing the opener in Hyderabad.
The series is part of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-25 cycle. India are in third spot with 38 points and a winning percentage of 52.77. England are languishing in the eighth place with 21 points (25 percentage).
India have been plagued by injuries and the absence of star batter Virat Kohli. Middle-order batter K L Rahul has been ruled out after failing a fitness Test. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is racing against time after suffering a hamstring injury in the first Test.
Mumbai middle-order batter Sarfaraz Khan is all set to make his Test debut in the absence of Rahul, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer.
India will most certainly bring back Mohammed Siraj in place of Mukesh Kumar as Jasprit Bumrah's new-ball partner.
England are likely to play two seamers and Mark Wood should be back to team up with James Anderson.
Likely XI: India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Sarfaraz Khan, Rajat Patidar, K S Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Siraj.
England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wk), Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, Mark Wood & James Anderson.
The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium has hosted two Tests so far. India have won one Test while the other ended in a draw. Incidentally, the high-scoring draw featured India and England in 2016. Spinners should get more purchase as the match goes on. The captain winning the toss will be looking to bat first.
The match will be telecast live on Sports 18. Live streaming will be available on JioCinema app.