The third Test match between India and England will be played at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. The day-night Test match begins on 24th February.
With the series finely poised at 1-1, we will look at three Indian players whose performance in the third Test will be keenly followed.
#1 Axar Patel
Axar Patel was one of the shining stars of India’s win in the second Test in Chennai. The left-arm spinner bagged seven wickets on his Test debut.
Patel dismissed England captain and their most important batsman Joe Root in both the innings of the match.
In the first innings, Patel’s quicker ones suffocated Root, which eventually led to his dismissal. Root was dismissed trying to play a sweep shot – his most productive shot in the first Test.
In the second innings, Axar dismissed Root with a traditional left-arm spinner’s delivery. He also completed his fifer in the second innings.
Axar's quicker pace and the angle at which he sends the ball into the right-handers meant that he was able to fill in for Ravindra Jadeja much better than Shahbaz Nadeem.
India will hope that Patel will continue to have the wood over England’s batsmen, especially Root, in the third Test.
#2 Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma hit form in the second Test after a disappointing first match. India lost three wickets for just 86 in the first innings and it was Sharma who led the fightback.
He bulldozed his way to 161 runs that helped India put up a respectable first-innings total of 329. The highlight of Sharma’s innings was the pace at which he scored those runs.
He reached 100 off just 130 balls. His pulls and drives didn’t allow the seamers to settle in. Similarly, against spinners, he used the sweep shot judiciously and was also quick to use his feet.
Sharma played with great liberty, making use of every run-scoring opportunity. His counter-attacking instinct came to India’s rescue when the team needed him the most.
India will hope that Sharma continues his run-scoring form in Ahmedabad.
#3 Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane's form has been a cause of concern for the Indian team management.
In this series, Rahane has so far scored 78 runs from four innings at an underwhelming average of 19.5.
He scored 67 runs in the first innings of the second Test but will rue the fact that he couldn't convert it into a hundred.
Even in Australia, apart from his hundred at the MCG, Rahane was not in the best of forms. Before that, his returns in New Zealand were also below par.
The upcoming two Tests are very crucial for Rahane. If he fails to deliver, his spot in the side, at least for home Tests, will be under the scanner.
With the likes of Hanuma Vihari (currently injured) and KL Rahul sitting on the bench, Rahane needs to score big to save his spot in the playing XI.