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India’s predicted XI: Will Virat Kohli play 3rd test?

Kartik Mehindru

Will Virat Kohli play the 3rd test against England? We bring you India’s predicted XI for the Trent Bridge test.

Since the time Virat Kohli took over as the Indian captain, he hasn’t fielded the same eleven for consecutive test matches.

He is known to be a captain that goes with the approach of horses for courses. The exclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the second test match against South Africa in Centurion, exclusion of Kuldeep Yadav from the second one day international against England, and keeping Pujara out from the first test match of the ongoing England series are just a few examples of how Kohli can surprise us with the eleven that takes the field.

In the present Indian team set up, even the Vice Captain can face the axe if he isn’t suited to play given the conditions and the team combination as we saw with Rahane during the South African series.

How this continuous chopping and changing of the team affects the morale of the players is a topic for another day.

Today we look at the eleven that might take the field for the third test match at Trent Bridge.

Openers: Kl Rahul and Murali Vijay

Expect no change in the opening combination. With Shikhar Dhawan getting all the focus for not performing, Vijay and Rahul have quietly under-performed. But with Vijay having a successful 2014 England tour behind him and Rahul being more technically sound than Dhawan in swinging conditions, expect the same duo to take the field this Saturday.

Upper middle order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane.

Virat Kohli has emerged as a backbone of the Indian batting line-up, and even though the captain has developed a minor back injury, it is unlikely to keep him out of the third test. Along with Pujara and Rahane, this is the upper middle order that can withstand any condition and this is what we will see this Saturday, unless Kohli runs out of patience with Rahane and bring in Karun Nair.

Lower middle order: Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin

With Dinesh Karthik performing below expectations in the first two test matches, expect Pant to receive his first test cap this Saturday.

Pandya performed decently with the ball in the previous test match and has looked solid with the bat in patches, so the all-rounder is likely to hold his place in the eleven. R Ashwin has performed well with the ball and better than the most with the bat, so expect him to be the lone spinner in the team.

Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma

Since Bumrah is fit for the third test match, expect him to walk into the eleven in place of Kuldeep who had a pretty forgettable test match at Lord’s.

Shami and Ishant have performed well with the ball so far, so expect them to hold their respective places.

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