Young English batter Zak Crawley is confident that the visitors will be more adept than India while facing the swinging pink-ball in the 3rd Test in Ahmedabad. Crawly believes that as England's players have grown up playing on seam-friendly tracks, the next match may 'play into their hands'.
The 4-Test series is finely balanced at 1-1. The visitors took advantage of winning the toss in the first Test and trounced Virat Kohli's team by 227 runs. Subsequently, on the rank turner in the 2nd Test, the Indians showed far better footwork and played with more aplomb than their counterparts to level the series.
The third Test will bring a different set of challenges. The most raging of these will be the mandatory minimum grass on the pitch which will aid England's James Anderson and Jofra Archer.
Interacting with British reporters ahead of the match, Zak Crawley compared India's zeal against spin to England's preparedness against swing. Crawley was also wary of India's redoubtable pace battery comprising of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj.
I think it will play into our hands. We have grown up with those conditions, trying to play the ball late in seaming conditions, so you would say we would be more adept at it than the Indians. That's probably why they are unbelievable players of spin, because they have grown up with it. That said, they have an unbelievable seam attack and incredible batsmen, so it won't help us too much. They will be more than capable," said Zak Crawley.
Giving an insight on how the pink cherry may behave in Ahmedabad, Zak Crawley said the ball has shown more movement for pacers than the traditional red ball, while spinners are making it skid.
"(The pink ball) seems to be swinging more than the red ball, doing a bit more for the seamers. I expect a bit more seam in this game and for the seamers to have more of a chance than perhaps they did in the last couple of Tests. It also seems to be a bit harder, so the spinners are skidding it on a bit more. The spinners are still going to have to play a big role and I would be surprised if they produce an absolute green seamer," said the English batsman.
"I am glad to be on the mend now" - Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley missed the first two Tests with a gammy wrist. The 23-year-old assured the press that he has recovered well and is confident of being available to play in the 3rd Test.
"I have improved quite a bit, doing plenty of batting in the nets, making sure I am as fit as possible for this Test and that there is a chance I can be selected... It was a real shame to do that and miss some Test cricket. I was trying my hardest to be back for the second Test, that was what motivated me. Unfortunately, I didn't quite do that in time but I am glad to be on the mend now and it is looking positive," said Zak Crawley.
After being completely outplayed in the 2nd Test, the visitors may choose to make a host of changes in the playing eleven in Ahmedabad. This could include Zak Crawley replacing Rory Burns or Dan Lawrence in the top-order.
If given the chance, Zak Crawley will certainly look to bounce back from his dismal outing - 35 runs from 4 innings - in Sri Lanka.