The Test will be a Day-Night encounter – India’s third such match and second at home. In their previous home pink-ball game against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens), Virat Kohli’s side registered a comprehensive win (the less said about Adelaide, the better).
The Motera Stadium, which is the biggest in the world with a capacity of 1,10,000, has drawn the awe of cricketers from both sides. England’s Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad in particular were bowled over by the size and grandeur of the stadium.
India’s squad for the 3rd Test: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav
England’s squad for the 3rd Test: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Here are 3 factors that might have a major say on the outcome of the 3rd Test between India and England.
#3 The Motera Stadium’s new lights and seats
The Motera Stadium’s size and capacity means that the usual floodlight towers that look over other grounds in the world can’t be installed. The stadium instead features LED lights across the rooftop, and this system of lighting has been known to cause fielders issues.
The seats, which are new and freshly painted, are bright in the absence of a full crowd. The pink ball might get lost in the seats, leading to more problems with visibility.
“Yeah, that’s always a challenge, getting used to the lights in a new stadium. Tomorrow we’ll be practicing under the lights. The focus will be on getting used to the lights and the seats in the stadium. The seats are new, so they’ll be shiny. We’ll have a long session on the field, with slip catching, outfield catching and so on.”
Dew has always been a talking point in D/N Tests, and its impact was also felt in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which took place at the same venue.
Tamil Nadu elected to bowl first, and their four-pronged spin attack generated prodigious turn. Baroda, who had the misfortune of losing the toss, saw their spinners completely nullified in the second innings. While the pitch was still slow, the degree of deviation drastically reduced.
The second and third sessions in particular will be under the spotlight. Even if the pitch is made to be conducive to turn, certain natural elements might now allow India (or England for that matter) to make the most of it. Speaking of the pitch…..
#1 The pitch and India’s insistence on a turner
Most pink-ball Tests so far have featured green tops, and India’s understandable insistence on making the most of their home advantage may bring a number of new factors into play.
The pitch at the Motera Stadium was green as a Kiwi pasture less than three days ago, but it now bears a familiar dusty look. D/N Tests haven’t seen pitches without a good covering of grass to keep the pink ball’s shine intact, and India are entering unchartered territory with their aim of preparing another rank turner.
As mentioned above, the pitch for the Syed Mushtaq Ali final turned square in the first innings. Even if they use a different strip for this game, the square is bound to retain some of the same characteristics.
Team combinations will also greatly change. While India are likely to drop Kuldeep Yadav although he has been reported to be next to unreadable with the pink ball, England might field James Anderson and Stuart Broad together for the first time in a very long time.
It remains to be seen if India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can get the ball to talk, and whether the visiting pacers can outbowl their counterparts in conditions more suited to them.
Published 24 Feb 2021, 00:23 IST