England Opt to Bowl, Pant Makes Debut for Visitors


Contrast this with how Virat Kohli bristled when he was reminded, for the umpteenth time, that he will not or can not play the same eleven in two consecutive Test matches. Most of us do not qualify to be part of an elite worldwide sporting set up, but that does not automatically mean that those who are there know best.

England playing XI: Keaton Jennings, Alastair Cook, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson. Kohli is adamant he has been able to manage the problem and will be at full fitness for the third Test. A side like England, when they play like that, they can outplay anybody'. In that aspect atleast, there is some good news.

Earlier, while announcing the Test squad for first three games, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials had hoped that he could be available for the final two matches. Never has an injury invoked so much interest since Sachin Tendulkar's tennis elbow. When asked if this sowed the seeds of insecurity in some of his players, Kohli withdrew.

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Virat Kohli's team is being heavily criticised for its abject surrender in the second Test against England at Lord's and its lackadaisical approach towards training.

India head into this week's third Test here at Trent Bridge in Nottingham with no other tour games in which players can either rediscover their form or make a case for being called-up. In these two instances, he has scored at a strike-rate of 68.93 and 57.29, respectively, which could once again go in his favour. But, now, after the below-par performances in the initial two Tests against England, a section of people are talking about the whitewash. Thus, there is every chance that India could opt for their third different opening pairing of Dhawan and KL Rahul in as many Tests, the middle order will be untouched. In fact, he was seen highly involved in the practice sessions as well. "It's a position we've been trying to get into in the Test team for a while".

Shastri´s competitive spirit remains intact off the field, with the 56-year-old telling reporters at Trent Bridge on Thursday: "Batsmen from both teams have struggled". While the Three Lions will look to extend their dominance the return of Ben Stokes will give a selection dilemma. In India, I expect two changes.