NOTTINGHAM, August 17: Shaken by abject surrender in the first two Tests, a desperate India are expected to ring in a slew of changes as they aim at redemption against a rampaging England in a do-or-die third Test, starting on Saturday.
For Indian team, the Trent Bridge Test will be their last chance to save the series after being outplayed in the first two Test matches — by 31 runs Edgbaston and innings and 159 runs at the Lord’s.
Down 0-2 with only five and half days of competitive cricket in all, skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri will be aiming to get the team combination right having bungled at the Lord’s.
As a result, India will play their 38th combination in as many matches that skipper Kohli had led.
The most awaited change will be 20-year-old Rishabh Pant’s imminent Test debut replacing a horribly out-of-form Dinesh Karthik, who might well have played his last international game in the longest format.
With scores of 0, 20, 1 & 0 in four innings coupled with shoddy glovework meant that Karthik was seen giving catching practice to Pant, who also spend considerable time batting at the nets.
Being hailed as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successor, Pant’s entry into the squad happened after three half-centuries in the two first-class matches against England Lions.
Rishabh Pant set to make debut in third Test
A few dark clouds, the occasional rain and the sudden chill of early autumn greeted the Indian team as they got down to practice at Trent Bridge on Thursday. The two-and-a-half day humiliation at Lord’s is still fresh in their memories and the Indian team management knows that a few drastic measures are the need of the hour to stay competitive in the five-Test series.
The first of those is the likely inclusion of young Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. The second is the desperation of Virat Kohli to take the field, even though it’s quite evident that he is not 100% fit. Shikhar Dhawan, too, seems to be in line for a comeback while Jasprit Bumrah, who has got fit from a finger injury, is also likely to find a place in the playing XI.
But India’s first practice at Trent Bridge was a lot about Pant acclimatizing to the conditions, both as a keeper and a batsman, while Dinesh Karthik hardly got a go. Pant kept with the slip cordon and batted with the top-order as the senior Chennai man almost stayed invisible. (PTI)