India on Wednesday announced their 17-man squad for the upcoming third and fourth Test matches against England, both of which will be played at the Sardar Patel stadium in Motera, near Ahmedabad. Fast bowler Shardul Thakur has been released for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Umesh Yadav will replace him after a fitness assessment.
The squad otherwise remains unchanged from the one that played in the first two Tests at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Debutant left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the star campaigner for India as he returned with a five-wicket haul in England’s second innings and put India on the way to a comfortable 317-run win in the second Test on Tuesday at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Chasing 482 to win on the dusty rank turner at Chepauk, England were bundled out for a paltry 164 in 54.2 overs in the second session of the fourth day’s play. The result helped the Virat Kohli-led side to level the four-match series at 1-1.
The win also essential as it has India at the second spot on the World Test Championship points table. Another win in one of the two impending matches would give spot in the final of the WTC against New Zealand, due to be played at the Lord’s later this year.
Ravichandran Ashwin was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his majestic century in the second innings and a haul of eight wickets in the match, including a five-for during England’s innings.
Axar dismissed England captain Joe Root (33 off 92 balls) early in the second session on Tuesday to all but end the visitors’ slender chances of saving the Test. While all-rounder Moeen Ali put up a quickfire 38-run stand with Stuart Broad (5 not out) for the last wicket, he eventually fell to Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who ended England’s second innings with two wickets. Moeen hit three fours and five sixes in his 18-ball 43.
Axar ended up with figures of 5/60, following up on his first innings figures of 2/40. Ravichandran Ashwin, meanwhile, took three wickets for 53 runs, squaring off a stellar showing in the Test in which he returned figures of 5/43 in England’s first innings and scored his fifth century in the longest format of the game.
The series now moves to Ahmedabad where the third day-night Test will be played from February 24 at the newly contructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera. The fourth Test will also be played at this venue.
Squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.
With IANS inputs