In the build-up to the match, there is plenty of hype around the stadium, with players from both sides enamored with the grandeur of Motera and the state-of-the-art facilities. This is, after all, the largest cricket stadium in the world.
Once the match gets underway though, the focus will completely shift to the cricket. The series is finely balanced, with both teams having won one Test each, convincingly. Being a pink-ball encounter, the pacers are expected to come into play more in this game.
The Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad has so far hosted 12 Test matches. Team India have an impressive record at the venue, winning four and losing only two. Against England, they have played two, winning one and drawing one.
Famous innings by Team India cricketers at Motera
There have been a few memorable knocks by batsmen from Team India at the Motera Stadium over the years. Here’s a look:
#5 Virender Sehwag (117 vs England, 2012)
In 2012, Virender Sehwag’s international career was on the wane. His eyesight had begun to deteriorate, and as a result, his hand-eye co-ordination too seemed to have deserted him. In that sense, Virender Sehwag’s hundred against England in 2012 was his swansong. Although he played a few more Tests, this was to be his last Test ton.
Team India won the toss and elected to bat first. The famed Indian opening pair of Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (45) got to off to an assured start, adding 134 for the first wicket. Sehwag was his usual aggressive self, hammering a run-a-ball 117.
Against an impressive bowling line-up comprising James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, Sehwag thumped 15 fours and a six to put India in command. His wonderful innings ended when he was cleaned up by Swann while attempting a sweep.
Cheteshwar Pujara hit a brilliant double hundred as Team India posted a mammoth 521 for 8 at Motera. Pragyan Ojha’s five-for saw India bowl England out for 191. Following on, they responded with 406 courtesy skipper Alastair Cook’s magnificent 176.
Cook’s heroics were not enough to save England from defeat though as Team India won the Test by nine wickets.
#4 Mohammad Azharuddin (152 vs Sri Lanka, 1994)
Former captain Mohammad Azharuddin played some fantastic knocks for Team India in the 1990s, especially at home. One such memorable innings came in Ahmedabad against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first in the third Test of the three-match series. Left-arm spinner Venkatapathy Raju ran through the Lankan innings with fabulous figures of 5 for 38. Off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan also shone with 3 for 8 in 11 overs, eight of them being maidens.
The visitors were rolled over for 119 after which Team India’s response was built around a captain’s knock by Azharuddin. He scored a typically wristy 152, decked with 16 fours and a six, as the Lankan bowlers could only watch in admiration.
Azharuddin occupied the crease for 361 minutes before he was ninth man out for 152, bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan. Vinod Kambli also chipped in with 57 as Team India posted an impressive 358.
Sri Lanka were bowled out 222 in the second innings. The spinners again ran riot as India clinched the Test by an innings and 17 runs.
#3 Sachin Tendulkar (217 vs New Zealand, 1999)
Nearly a decade after making his debut, Sachin Tendulkar notched up his maiden double hundred in Test cricket. It came against New Zealand at Motera in the third Test of the three-match series in 1999.
Batting first after winning the toss, Team India lost opener Devang Gandhi early. Rahul Dravid got a start but was back in the hut for 33.
Leading the side, Tendulkar took it upon himself to rescue India. Staying glued to the crease for close to 500 minutes, the Master Blaster frustrated the Kiwi attack, which comprised high-quality bowlers like Chris Cairns and Daniel Vettori.
Tendulkar hit 29 fours in all and looked in complete control during his stay out in the middle. He featured in a mammoth 281-run stand for the fourth wicket with future captain Sourav Ganguly (125).
The Indian legend’s innings ended on 217 when he pulled Daniel Vettori to mid wicket, where Dion Nash took a great diving catch. Team India declared the innings on 583 for 7.
New Zealand replied with 308 courtesy 70s from Nathan Astle and Chris Cairns. Set 424 to win the Test after India declared their second innings at 148 for 5, the Kiwis held out for a commendable draw. Gary Stead, Craig Spearman and skipper Stephen Fleming all contributed half-centuries.
#2 Rahul Dravid (222 vs New Zealand, 2003)
Very rarely will Rahul Dravid not feature in the list of top 5 Test knocks by Indians, irrespective of the opposition. He made a defiant double century against the Kiwis back in 2003.
Team India batted first in the first Test of the two-match series. Aakash Chopra (42) and Sehwag (29) got starts but could not carry on. Tendulkar too fell cheaply, perishing for 8. At 134 for 3, the hosts were in a spot of bother.
As he did so many times during his illustrious career, Dravid once again rescued India with a tenacious knock. He batted for 578 minutes and occupied the crease for 387 balls, hitting 28 fours and a rare six in his 222.
Dravid featured in a fourth-wicket stand 130 with frequent batting partner VVS Laxman (64) and added 182 with skipper Ganguly (100 not out). The Wall’s innings ended when he was caught behind off Jacob Oram’s bowling.
Team India declared their innings exactly on 500 for 5. A century by Astle saw New Zealand reply with 340. Dravid contributed 74 in the second innings as India set the Kiwis 340 for victory. Craig McMillan's unbeaten 83 from 190 and Astle’s 51 not out from 135 saw New Zealand play out a hard-fought draw.
#1 Cheteshwar Pujara (206 not out vs England, 2012)
India’s current wall, Cheteshwar Pujara, was the standout performer in Team India’s famous victory over England in the Ahmedabad Test in 2012. While Sehwag scored a run-a-ball hundred, it was Pujara’s marathon knock that set the foundation for India’s trumph in the Test.
Pujara occupied the crease for 513 minutes for Team India, hitting 21 fours and facing 389 balls in all to wear down the England bowlers. The Saurashtra batsman was in complete control of his innings, remaining unbeaten on 206, his career-best score in Test cricket. None of the bowlers, including Anderson and Swann, could trouble him.
Pujara and Yuvraj Singh (74) featured in a 130-run stand for the fifth wicket. Team India declared their innings on 521 for 8, with Pujara walking back undefeated.
Pujara was declared man of the match for his unbeaten double hundred. England, however, famously recovered to claim the Test series 2-1. This was the last time Team India had lost a Test series at home.