Heading into the third test full of confidence after beating England comprehensively by 317 runs in the second test, India are justifiably favourites to take a 2-1 series lead.
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The bookmakers clearly think so too, for they’re priced at 1.63 favourites, whereas England are at 4.20.
Absolutely dominating England with bat and ball, India had many star performers who stepped up for the home side. To start with, Rohit Sharma and Ashwin both scored centuries while Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant notched fifties. This was in stark contrast to England, with none of their players getting above 43.
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Then on the bowling side, Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Axar Patel terrorised the away team by combining to take an amazing 15 wickets.
With criticism flying in about the state of the pitch and how quickly it deteriorated, this certainly helped India, who won the toss and were able to bat first. England, in fairness didn’t use this as an excuse publicly, but this didn’t help their cause when facing the Indian spin kings on a pitch that suited them.
England’s spinners definitely benefited from the conditions too, for they took a collective 14 wickets between them.
India captain Kohli’s comments when asked on the pitch made for interesting reading, stating: “I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” he explained.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out. We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch. So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
Another key talking point that arose from the match was England’s rotation policy, which saw them heavily change their team from the first test, which they admirably won. Former star Kevin Pietersen spoke out against this stance emphatically, stating: “I’m pretty upset that England won’t field their strongest team for any of the four Test matches against India,” Pietersen said to Betway.
“Yes, they won the first Test after winning the toss, but for a guy like Jimmy Anderson to be sitting around watching the second match when you’ve got Stuart Broad bowling 75mph dibbly-dobblers with the wicket-keeper standing up just doesn’t make any sense to me. You’ve got Jos Buttler back home, Jonny Bairstow only flying out for the last couple of matches, and now Moeen Ali is going home, too.
“I understand that bubble life isn’t easy, it’s really difficult. But surely these guys want to play? It’s incredibly disappointing. They should have come out all guns blazing for this series.”
With no shortage of talking points surrounding the series, the third test looms as a fascinating encounter, as cricket fans all over the world will be watching with interest as these two giants of the cricket world battle it out again this week.