London: England takes on India in the third Test match of the Pataudi Trophy tomorrow at the Headingley Stadium in Leeds.
Both sides will be well rested after getting a nine-day break between the second and third Test, during which the final leg of The Hundred took place. India recorded a historic win in a rollercoaster of a Test at Lord’s to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
After being put in to bat, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma helped India get to 126/0 before the latter was dismissed for a 145-ball 83. Rahul, who was content playing second fiddle until that point, began accelerating.
Despite a slow start, he got to his hundred in 212 balls in the third session of Day 1. Skipper Virat Kohli also looked good before he was dismissed late in the day.
India’s hopes of extending their first innings score to 400 were dealt a heavy blow, with England sending both Rahul and Rahane back to the pavilion in the first two overs of Day 2. They were eventually bowled out for 364 thanks to a spirited and fiery fast bowling effort from the England seamers.
With India staring down the barrel at 209/8 early on Day 5, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah put on an unbeaten 89-run stand for the ninth wicket, setting England a target of 272, with sixty overs remaining. A fired-up Indian side successfully bowled England out in 51.5 overs, thanks to a joint effort from their four seamers, with Mohammed Siraj impressing all.
England has made some changes to their squad. They dropped Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley, with Dawid Malan earning a recall to the Test side. Pacer Saqib Mahmood has been called up to cover for Mark Wood, with Stuart Broad out of the series.
Meanwhile, India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Monday said that he is not too bothered about the constant scrutiny around his form in the longest format as people always talk about important players.
I am happy people are talking about me, I always believe people talk about important people. I am not too concerned about that, it is all about contribution for the team. Cheteshwar and I have been playing for long, we know how to handle pressure and certain situations. We are not concerned about them, we are focusing on the team. We just want to contribute for the side, whatever we cannot control, we are not thinking about that, said Rahane while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference. In the second innings of the second Test, Rahane and Pujara shared a crucial 100 run stand and this helped India post a respectable score on the board.
My innings was really satisfying in the second Test, I always believe in contributions and for me, I always think about the team. That knock of 61 in the Lord’s Test was really satisfying. It was all about hanging in there, communication was all about thinking about small targets and building on from there. We always talk about Pujara playing slow, but his innings was really important, he batted for 200 balls. We backed each other, I thought communication was really good. We knew 170-180 could have been a very good score on that wicket, said Rahane.
“Everything motivates me, playing for country motivates me a lot. I am not bothered about criticism. People only criticise important people, I am happy they are criticising me, I only focus on controllables. Team performance is the ultimate goal, you think about your plans and methods, but ultimately it is all for the team. We just focus on that,” he added.
Talking about the upcoming third Test, Rahane said: ‘2014 and 2018 is past now, we are not thinking about that. We are not taking it lightly, whatever happened in the last game was special but we have moved on and we are focused on the next Test. We are taking it one match at a time, win or lose, it is important to stay in the present. We are confident about our unit, we have been playing some good cricket and it is about staying in the moment and focusing on the next match. We are not thinking too much about the conditions and whatever Headingley has to offer. We just want to give our best, all players are in a good headspace and it is about putting our best foot forward, he added.