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Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane
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Brad Hogg Against Suryakumar Yadav Replacing Ajinkya Rahane In Starting 11 In 4th Test

Brad Hogg, a former Australian spinner is against the idea of India potentially replacing Ajinkya Rahane in the middle-order. There have been talks surrounding Ajinkya Rahane’s poor form as of late, with either one of Suryakumar Yadav or Hanuma Vihari taking up his spot.

Ajinkya Rahane has struggled with inconsistency over a large portion of his career, and the recent string of low scores has left him with more concern. His current form mirrors the state of the Indian middle-order at the moment, as runs have been hard to come by. Over the course of three Tests so far, Ajinkya Rahane has compiled a solitary fifty in the second innings of the Lord’s Test.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images

Brad Hogg: India Needs Experience Of Ajinkya Rahane As Move To Axe Him Would Be Career Changing

Brad Hogg notes how drastic a potential change would be since, if brought in, Suryakumar Yadav will have to be given enough opportunities as well, which leaves Ajinkya Rahane out in the cold.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg said: “There is a big thought and I’m thinking it as well to bring Surykumar Yadav in at number 5 in place of Ajinkya Rahane, but once you do that, Ajinkya Rahane is out for good, it is a career-changing move and you’ve got to give Suryakumar Yadav a number of opportunities. I don’t think you want to pull the cord yet , you need that experience.”

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Suryakumar Yadav was brought in as a late injury replacement along with Prithvi Shaw. The Mumbai Indians batsman has been in good form as of late but has never played the longest format for India, and the challenge only increases in complexity, given the conditions in England.

While Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have played 14 Tests each since the beginning of 2020 and average 26.25 and 27.56 runs per innings, Virat Kohli averages a poor 24.68 in 11 Tests. India’s No. 3, 4, and 5 have just one century between them during this period – Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 in Melbourne – when the team has played seven Tests against England, four against Australia, and three against New Zealand.

Brad Hogg: Inclusion Of Aggressive Suryakumar Yadav Will Expose Lower Order

Brad Hogg feels that the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav will hamper the team’s combination and will impact the stability of the batting order as well.

Brad Hogg added: “Having Suryakumar Yadav and Pant coming in together at 5 and 6 exposes that lower order because both players are aggressive.”

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

India will have to assess their current playing XI and also take the playing conditions into account following a barrage of poor decisions right from the toss in the third Test at Leeds. The fourth Test starting today (September 2) will be contested at The Oval. The series is currently tied at 1-1.

Suryakumar Yadav or Hanuma Vihari might come into the Indian team’s scheme of things if they consider playing an extra batsman. The latter should ideally be preferred in such a scenario, considering the fighting knock he played at Sydney. Although he is yet to play Tests, Suryakumar Yadav has a compelling record in first-class cricket, scoring 5326 runs in 77 first-class games at 44.01, with 14 tons.

Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin are likely to be added to the Indian playing XI.

India Likely Playing XI For 4th Test Against England: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)
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Suryakumar Yadav May Not Be In India’s Starting 11 In 4th Oval Test Unlike Ravichandran Ashwin: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra feels Suryakumar Yadav does not stand a chance to make Team India’s playing XI for the fourth Test against England.

The Indian middle-order batsmen have not covered themselves with glory over the last couple of years. There have been calls from various cricket experts for the inclusion of Hanuma Vihari or Suryakumar Yadav in the playing XI.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Is A Little Biased Towards Suryakumar Yadav But Questions Who Will He Replace In The Starting XI

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was asked if the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin is inevitable considering the heavy loss at Leeds.

He responded: “Suryakumar Yadav – no, not going to happen. I am a little biased towards him, I like him but you will play him in place of whom? Will you play a sixth batsman?”

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Instagram)

The former India opener reasoned that none of the top six batsmen can be left out of the playing XI.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “You will not touch anyone who is playing – Rohit, Rahul, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane and Rishabh Pant – all these six are going to play. If this top six remains, there is no place.”

While Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have played 14 Tests each since the beginning of 2020 and average 26.25 and 27.56 runs per innings, Virat Kohli averages a poor 24.68 in 11 Tests. India’s No. 3, 4, and 5 have just one century between them during this period – Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 in Melbourne – when the team has played seven Tests against England, four against Australia, and three against New Zealand.

Aakash Chopra: Ravichandran Ashwin May Be Included In Favourable Oval Pitch

On the flip side, Aakash Chopra feels Ravichandran Ashwin could be in the Indian think tank’s thoughts. Aakash Chopra highlighted that the Oval pitch could assist Ravichandran Ashwin

He reasoned: “About Ashwin, you are going to the Oval. The ball turns there and the pitch is a little flat. He played for Surrey as well and knows the pitch also, that is a definite consideration.”

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

However, the 43-year-old added that the off-spinner’s inclusion would depend on the pitch and the combination the Indian team wants to go in with.

Aakash Chopra observed: “But until you see the pitch, I don’t think you can have an answer, whether it is a four fast-bowler pitch or two spinners if they are going for five bowlers. If you are going to play four bowlers and want to play just the one spinner, then the question will be to go towards Jaddu or Ashwin.”

Ravindra Jadeja got a knee scan done after suffering an injury while fielding during the Headingley Test. The extent of his injury could also play a role in Ashwin’s inclusion in the playing XI.

The contenders for a place in the Playing 11 for the 4th Test are Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Hanuma Vihari. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have played all three Test matches and maybe rested or rotated. The other one who could sit out is Ishant Sharma. Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, and Prasidh Krishna may replace them.

Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images
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Ollie Robinson Felt Great To Open Bowling With James Anderson

Ollie Robinson, England pacer on Saturday said his legendary teammate James Anderson helped him in tweaking his wobble grip ball technique and it gave him a perfect result in the third Test against India.

Ollie Robinson exploited the second new ball on the fourth morning en route splendid bowling figures of 26-6-65-5 as England drew level in the five-match series with an innings and 76 runs win.

England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
England’s Ollie Robinson. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

Ollie Robinson Felt Great To Open Bowling With James Anderson

Ollie Robinson was named player of the match as England completed an innings-and-76-run victory in the third LV= Insurance Test at Leeds. He claimed 7 for 81 in the match, including 5 for 65 in the second innings

“I noticed Jimmy holding his wobble grip slightly differently. I was holding it from the other side so I spoke to him and just tried to practice it in the nets,” Robinson told reporters after his man-of-the-match performance.

“It went quite nicely, so I tried it in the game and it worked quite well. It’s something I need to practice a bit more. This learning opportunity is invaluable for me at this stage in my career and luckily it came off today. Obviously, it’s great to open the bowling with Jimmy and build pressure on both ends. I enjoyed it and hopefully, I can continue.”

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
India collapsed from 215 for two to 278 all out on Day 4 of the 3rd Test. England began the proceedings with the second new ball and it all began with Ollie Robinson dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara on his overnight score of 91. Out-of-form India skipper Virat Kohli got to his first fifty of the series but only to be dismissed by Ollie Robinson that triggered a stunning collapse.

“It feels like a very special day, I don’t quite feel like it’s settled in yet. For me, it’s one of the great days in my cricket career, to get my first Test win is really special.”

On taking the prized scalp of Kohli, he said: “It is an amazing feeling. The crowds here were unbelievable. The noise when we got Kohli out was deafening, just an unbelievable experience and feeling to get that wicket.”

Ollie Robinson was named player of the match as England completed an innings-and-76-run victory in the third LV= Insurance Test at Leeds. He claimed 7 for 81 in the match, including 5 for 65 in the second innings.
With James Anderson and Stuart Broad coming towards the end and Jofra Archer facing an uncertain future, in Test cricket at least, Ollie Robinson’s emergence gives England great reassurance for the future. Ollie Robinson took 4 for 25 in eight metronomic overs on the fourth and final morning.

Ollie Robinson Trying His Best To Become A Better Person

Not long ago, the Sussex pacer had doubts over his fate in England cricket as he was suspended for offensive old racist tweets following his spectacular Test debut against New Zealand in June. After his apology, the Sussex seamer earned a recall for the Trent Bridge Test where he grabbed his maiden fifer.

“It’s off the back of quite a few hard years, I’ve had to work hard to get here and do a lot of extra to get here so to get the rewards in the last four four Test matches has been very pleasing,” the 27-year-old said.

Craig Overton celebrates a wicket Getty Images
Craig Overton celebrates a wicket Getty Images

“When you are performing obviously the scrutiny is off you a little bit. It (the racist tweet episode) is still quite fresh in my memory and I’m trying to work on becoming a better person.”

Ollie Robinson, England’s best bowler in the second innings, claimed 5 for 65 – a second career five-for in just his fourth Test. Craig Overton took two wickets to wipe out the tail and seal the match. Moeen Ali produced a big-spinning beauty to get a wicket of his own, and James Anderson was unlucky to wind up with just one dismissal to his name – he’d been all over Virat Kohli in his first spell.

England 432 (Root 121, Malan 70, Hameed 68, Burns 61, Shami 4-95) beat India 78 (Sharma 19, Anderson 3-6, Overton 3-14) and 278 (Pujara 91, Sharma 59, Kohli 55, Robinson 5-65) by an innings and 76 runs

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
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Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, And Ajinkya Rahane Have Been Too Inconsistent, Says Inzamam-ul-Haq

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan skipper reckons that the experienced trio of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane are letting Team India down because of their lack of performances. Inzamam-ul-Haq pointed out that the youngsters have risen to the occasion in recent times but they cannot be expected to bail the team out every time.

Team India succumbed to defeat by an innings and 76 runs on Day 4 at Headingley against England. While Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli notched up half-centuries in the second innings, Ajinkya Rahane failed to come up with a decent score yet again.

(L to R) Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Pic: Getty Images
(L to R) Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Cheteshwar Pujara. Pic: Getty Images

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, And Ajinkya Rahane Have Been Too Inconsistent

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam-ul-Haq stated that Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane have been too inconsistent given the kind of experience they possess.

He explained: “If you look at Team India’s batters, Virat Kohli hasn’t scored a hundred in nearly two years. The case is the same with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane is also struggling. Youngsters have been bailing the team out of difficult situations in recent times. Rishabh Pant scored a lot of runs, Ravindra Jadeja also contributed and Ashwin as well. The young guns have contributed a lot more in comparison to the experienced guys.”

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
Inzamam-ul-Haq, however, added that it is the duty of Team India’s experienced players to show the way, else the youngsters would also crumble under pressure.

He elaborated: “In big series’, if Team India’s experienced players don’t lead from the front, then they are bound to find themselves in trouble. I have been observing India’s performance from Australia. They have played some very good Test cricket. They have won series’ away from home in tough conditions. But the major role in these wins was played by the young players.”

“Virat is the No. 1 player in the world, Pujara and Rahane are very good Test players. But if there is such a big gap between their big scores or hundreds, the youngsters are bound to come under pressure. The young players have been doing well but the experienced ones must lead the way. If Team India’s younger players are constantly put under pressure, they too will struggle. This is exactly what is happening in England,” Inzamam explained.

Team India put up a commendable fight on Day 3 at Headingley as Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli put up a resistance against England’s bowlers. However, they could not continue the good work and crumbled against the new ball the next day.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Things Change When Big Guns Perform

According to Inzamam-ul-Haq, Team India could have applied pressure on England had they managed a big partnership in the second innings.

He said: “Things change when the big guns perform. Look at this Test itself. When Pujara and Kohli were involved in that partnership, Team India’s hopes of a comeback were suddenly raised though they had conceded a 350-run lead. It could have happened (comeback) had they converted their partnership into a big one, say around 200-250. The pressure would have been back on England then.”

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP

Team India will now face England in the fourth Test of the five-match series, starting September 2 at The Oval.

While Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have played 14 Tests each since the beginning of 2020 and average 26.25 and 27.56 runs per innings, Virat Kohli averages a poor 24.68 in 11 Tests. India’s No. 3, 4, and 5 have just one century between them during this period – Ajinkya Rahane’s 112 in Melbourne – when the team has played seven Tests against England, four against Australia, and three against New Zealand.

India will drop Ajinkya Rahane in all probability and pick Suryakumar Yadav and Hanuma Vihari can come in with KL Rahul replacing Rishabh Pant as wicket-keeper, while Ravichandran Ashwin must play in place of Ishant Sharma in the fourth Test at The Oval from September 2.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sunil Gavaskar Questions Why Rishabh Pant Was Told To Change His Stance On Day 1 Of 3rd Test

Sunil Gavaskar expressed his dismay at the umpires asking India keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant not to bat out of his crease. Sunil Gavaskar never shies away from making his point loud and clear.

After expressing his disagreements with Nasser Hussain’s comments about India’s previous generation cricketers getting ‘bullied,’ the legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar this time expressed his dismay at the umpires asking India keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant not to bat out of his crease.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Sunil Gavaskar Was Wondering Why Rishabh Pant Was Told To Change His Stance

The southpaw slightly batted outside the crease on Day 1 of the Leeds Test, which the umpires had found wrong as they felt he was trying to deliberately come into the danger area by creating footmarks, and hence he was told to bat inside the crease itself. Sunil Gavaskar’s comments came during Day 3 of the India vs England third Test at Headingley in Leeds. Sunil Gavaskar said footmarks don’t determine a batsman’s stance.

“I was wondering why was he told to change his stance if that is true. I only read it. A batsman can stand anywhere, even on the middle of the pitch, and what about when the batsman goes down the track against the spinners (footmarks can form even then),” Gavaskar said while commentating on the third day of the match.

Rishabh Pant and Sunil Gavaskar collage.(AP/File)
Rishabh Pant and Sunil Gavaskar collage.(AP/File)

His fellow commentator and former India player Sanjay Manjrekar called it “ridiculous”. Rishabh Pant spoke about this after India was bowled out for 78 on the opening day of the match.

“Because I was standing outside the crease and my front foot was coming into the danger area, so he (the umpire) told me that you can’t stand there,” Pant had said during the virtual post-day press conference on Wednesday.

“So, I have (had) to change my stance, but as a cricketer, I don’t have to think too much about that, because it’s everyone who is going to do that, umpires are going to say the same thing. I didn’t do that the next ball and you move on.”

The decision by the two English umpires once again asks whether it’s time that ICC reverts back to its two neutral on-field umpires for Test matches has been stopped due to travel restrictions in the post-Covid-19 world. On-field umpires Paul Wharf and Richard Kettleborough decided the verdict against Rishabh Pant.

India Lost By An Innings And 76 Runs As Series Level At 1-1

Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara led India’s fightback as they reached 215 for 2 at stumps on Friday(3rd Day). Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 91 with captain Virat Kohli (45) for company. India was still 139 runs away from making England bat again.

However, India lost 8 wickets in the morning session on Day 4 to hand England a series leveling win in Leeds. Joe Root-led England crushed India by an innings and 76 runs as Ollie Robinson clinched a fifer in the second innings. The fourth Test will now be played at The Oval from September 2.

Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images

Resuming at an overnight score of 215 for 2, India’s second innings folded in 99.3 overs with England pacer Ollie Robinson claiming five wickets. India was bundled out for a paltry 78 in their first innings on an opening day. England then posted 432 in their first innings to take a mammoth lead of 354 runs. India lost their last eight wickets for 53 runs in the morning session on Day 4 to hand England a convincing win.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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England Bowlers Were Disciplined On Day 3, Says Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma continued his good form in Test cricket as he scored a fighting 59 on Day 3 of the 3rd Test match. He was eventually given out LBW, and even though he did review it, the umpire’s call stood and he had to depart.

A naturally aggressive batsman, Rohit Sharma, in a press conference at the end of the 3rd day’s play, shed light on England’s disciplined bowling style that has prevented the Indian star batsman from opting for his free-flowing mode of batting.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Rohit Sharma: England Bowlers Were Disciplined

Rohit Sharma’s 59 runs in India’s second innings of the third Test against England at Leeds, Headingley came off 156 deliveries. The Mumbai batsman struck seven boundaries and a solitary six during the course of his almost four-hour vigil at the crease. Rohit Sharma had targeted Sam Curran and Moeen Ali while giving respect to the other bowlers.

“Their bowlers are very disciplined. Feel like playing shots but I do not get the opportunity. Therefore you have to respect the situation and play. I wait for the opportunity to score and give the bowlers respect until then.”

File image of Sam Curran | Reuters
File image of Sam Curran | Reuters

When quizzed about his approach to batting on the third day of the Test, Rohit Sharma spoke about adapting the technique that helped him score well.

“I know what challenges you have to face when you open the batting in such conditions. Keeping that in mind, you have to make some changes to your technique, which I did. I am happy those changes have worked. When you are batting, scoring runs is most important, but for me the longer I stay at the crease is also very important.”

Rohit Sharma has scored 1324 runs as an opener in 25 innings averaging 57.57 and has 4 tons including his career-best score of 212. Rohit Sharma has recorded scores of 26, 52, 44, 7, 34, and 30 as an opener while playing in Sydney, Brisbane, and Southampton over the last year. He scored 36, 12 n.o., 83, 21,19, and 59 against England at Trent Bridge, Lord’s, and Headingley.

India opener Rohit Sharma made a stylish 59 on Friday during the third Test at Leeds, Headingley. With India still trailing, Rohit Sharma reckons they are very much behind the game. He also felt that the 82-run stand between him and Cheteshwar Pujara was important as India had lost KL Rahul early in the piece.

Rohit Sharma Isn’t Disappointed To Miss Reaching The 3 Figure Mark

Rohit Sharma was also asked if he was disappointed to miss out on an opportunity to score a hundred. It is noteworthy that even though he has been in brilliant touch, Rohit Sharma has failed to score an overseas Test 100.

“I am not disappointed. It was an unlucky dismissal that can happen anytime you are batting. When the three-figure mark has to happen it will happen. My focus is on winning the match.”

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
India ended Day 3 with a score of 215/2. Though the visitors have lost their in-form opening batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli seem to be back in form. Cheteshwar Pujara played in an aggressive manner and was batting on 91, while Virat Kohli is unbeaten on 45.

Cheteshwar Pujara finally returned to form with a sublime 91* off 180 balls on Friday, an innings that featured 15 fours. Trailing England by 354 runs in the first innings, India ended Day 3 on an impressive 215 for 2, reducing the deficit to 139 by stumps. Pujara failed to score a ton after being dismissed LBW to Ollie Robinson on 91, without adding anything to India’s score on the 3rd Day at Stump’s.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma
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Rohit Sharma Played With Restraint And Waited For His Prey When Sam Curran Or Moeen Ali Bowled: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has highlighted that Rohit Sharma exhibited an interesting aspect of his game by predominantly playing sedately and taking the attack to the weak links of the opposition attack.

Rohit Sharma’s 59 runs in India’s second innings of the third Test against England at Leeds, Headingley came off 156 deliveries. The Mumbai batsman struck seven boundaries and a solitary six during the course of his almost four-hour vigil at the crease.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Rohit Sharma Played With Restraint And Waited For His Prey When Sam Curran Or Moeen Ali Bowled

While reviewing the third day’s play in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Rohit Sharma had targeted Sam Curran and Moeen Ali while giving respect to the other bowlers.

He elaborated: “It is going very interesting for Rohit Sharma. He is playing with so much restraint and waiting for his prey, when Sam Curran or Moeen Ali come. Other than that, he has put the shutter totally down, getting struck on the pad and what not.”

The former Indian opener observed that Rohit Sharma was slightly lucky as Joe Root failed to ask for a review within the stipulated time limit.

Aakash Chopra explained: “When he got out, everything gets leveled here itself. He was struck on the pads once earlier, they reviewed and the ball was going above the stumps. The second time when the ball hit the pad, when Joe Root reviewed, the counter had just ticked down to zero. He was saved by just one second because he was out as the ball was hitting the stumps.”

Sam Curran and Moeen Ali. Pic: CSK/ Twitter
Sam Curran and Moeen Ali. Pic: CSK/ Twitter

Aakash Chopra observed that things got evened out when Rohit Sharma was given lbw when the ball was shown just kissing the leg stump.

He said: “Then when he was hit on the pad, it seemed to the naked eye it was going down. But it was shown to be just clipping and he was out. He once again played an innings of great restraint which could not be converted to a big score.”

Opener Rohit Sharma might consider himself distinctly unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century. He played against the grain and kept the England bowlers at bay for almost fifty overs.

Aakash Chopra: Rohit Sharma Still Searching When To Change Gears

Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that Rohit Sharma seems to be stuck in the conundrum on when to take the attack to the opposition bowlers.

He observed: “The stage Rohit Sharma is in, he has changed his game a lot and he is now searching when to change gears. Of course, he knows that but he is still trying to find that rhythm and that is where this game is so beautiful. It’s not about Rohit’s skill but he is searching for an understanding of the gears.”

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

While Rohit Sharma may not have played a three-figure knock in the series thus far, he has certainly shown the ability to tackle the new ball in seamer-friendly conditions. The 34-year-old will hope that he goes one step further in the next match and scores his maiden Test century away from home.

Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara finally returned to form with a sublime 91* off 180 balls on Friday, an innings that featured 15 fours. Trailing England by 354 runs in the first innings, India ended Day 3 on an impressive 215 for 2, reducing the deficit to 139 by stumps.

Cheteshwar Pujara featured in crucial stands of 82 and 99 (unbroken) with Rohit Sharma (59) and Virat Kohli (45 not out) respectively to keep India’s hopes of saving the Test alive.

England is still in pole position for a series-levelling victory in the 3rd Test against India after England skipper Joe Root’s 23rd Test ton guided the hosts to 432 in the first innings, boasting a massive lead of 354 after India was dismissed for a paltry 78.

World Test Championship, India
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
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England Bowlers Lacked Discipline Against Cheteshwar Pujara On Day 3: David Lloyd

David Lloyd reckons England bowlers lacked discipline against Cheteshwar Pujara on Friday (Day 3), which allowed the batter to get back among the runs. The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that England had tasted all their success against Cheteshwar Pujara outside off stump in the series, yet were keen on bowling at his legs on Day 3 at Headingley.

Cheteshwar Pujara finally returned to form with a sublime 91* off 180 balls on Friday, an innings that featured 15 fours. Trailing England by 354 runs in the first innings, India ended Day 3 on an impressive 215 for 2, whittling down the deficit to 139 by stumps.

Cheteshwar Pujara hits one during Day 3 of the Headingley Test. Pic: Getty Images
Cheteshwar Pujara hits one during Day 3 of the Headingley Test. Pic: Getty Images

David Lloyd: All England Bowlers Looked Exasperated As They Kept Bowling Leg Side To Cheteshwar Pujara

Writing in his column, David Lloyd questioned England’s tactics against Cheteshwar Pujara.

“Cheteshwar Pujara has had a lean time in this series, because England have done for him on and around off stump. But on Friday all the bowlers looked exasperated as they kept bowling leg side to him. It’s exactly where he wants it!” said David Lloyd.

The England commentator credited Cheteshwar Pujara for playing positive cricket.

“Make no mistake: he’s a real sticker, and has taken over from Rahul Dravid in this team. But in this innings, he was positively flowing. Whether they were looking for extravagant swing or not, they lost their discipline,” said David Lloyd.

Cheteshwar Pujara featured in crucial stands of 82 and 99 (unbroken) with Rohit Sharma (59) and Virat Kohli (45 not out) respectively to keep India’s hopes of saving the Test alive.

Cheteshwar Pujara Came In With An Intent To Score Runs: Rohit Sharma

Team India opener Rohit Sharma admitted that Cheteshwar Pujara came in with the intent to bat positively and score runs on Friday. Lauding Cheteshwar Pujara for his knock, Rohit Sharma said at the end of the third day’s play that he didn’t spare any loose balls that were offered to him.

“Yes, he definitely came with an intent to score runs. This innings of ours was never about survival. We had the intent to score runs and Pujara clearly showed that. The way he got off the mark and then carried on from there, anything loose, he was ready to pounce on it. It shows that he had intent in his batting and that really helps. When you have that sort of intent, any loose deliveries will not be spared.”

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Rohit Sharma also added that there has been no chat regarding Chetshwar Pujara’s form in the Indian dressing room. He stated that all the talk has been on the outside but, within the Indian team, everyone had confidence in the experienced batter’s ability.

Cheteshwar Pujara averages 40.5 so far in this Test series having played 6 innings amassing 162 runs. After failures against New Zealand (average 25), Australia (33.88), England (22.17), and WTC Final (11.5), he finally returned to form. In 2021, he averages 32.88 after a subdued 20.38 in 2020.

Brydon Carse (Popperfoto via Getty Images)
Brydon Carse (Popperfoto via Getty Images)
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Brydon Carse Misses Out On A Potential Test Debut After Testing Covid-19 Positive

Brydon Carse, a Durham pacer who recently tested COVID-19 positive while playing in The Hundred, missed out on a potential Test debut against India in the ongoing series.

Brydon Carse came into Test side reckoning after Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, and Jofra Archer were ruled out of the Test series. Brydon Carse would have been included as a standby for the same.

Brydon Carse
Brydon Carse. (Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Brydon Carse Impressed During Limited Overs Series Against Pakistan

He impressed one and all during the limited-overs series against Pakistan, where he bowled with good pace and control. The 26-year-old took six wickets in that series from 3 ODIs averaging 22.66 and subsequently played for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, where he had contracted the virus towards the fag end of the tournament. He originally hails from South Africa but left his country of birth to play for England.

Brydon Carse @Action Images via Reuters
Brydon Carse @Action Images via Reuters

He had applied passport for the same and was qualified to play for England in 2019. There are still 2 Tests remaining in the England and India series and it remains to be seen if Brydon Carse returns fit to be considered for selection.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) named a new 18-member squad for Pakistan ODIs after a Covid-19 outbreak ruled out seven members of their One-day international camp, who were part of the upcoming series against Pakistan. The rest of the squad was considered to be in close proximity, so the entire original team was isolated and a new team was announced.

Ben Stokes led the team comprising of 9 uncapped cricketers. The Ben Stokes-led side completed a clean sweep (3-0) over Pakistan.

India Fights Back On Day 3 Of The Headingley Test

There was finally something right going for India as they managed to stay alive in the third Test in Leeds. The visitors wrapped up the two wickets and got to bat in the first hour on day three. Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul batted sensibly and ensured there was no loss of wickets for the first five overs. Just as the duo was settling, the latter got out for 8 owing to brilliance in the field by Jonny Bairstow.

Out-of-form batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara surprisingly got off the blokes quickly and managed to score some quick runs. He along with Rohit Sharma stayed vigilant at the crease and added an 82-run stand for the second wicket before the opener departed for a well-made 59.

Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara © PTI
Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara © PTI

Cheteshwar Pujara though continued to stay well in control and as the innings progressed, he gained confidence. He had skipper Virat Kohli for the company and, India finished at a formidable 215 for two at stumps on Day 3. Although the visitors still trail by 139, this fightback from the top three batsmen should inspire others to chip in with useful contributions with the bat on the final two days of the game.

India 78 and 215 for 2 (Pujara 91*, Rohit 59, Kohli 45*) trail England 432 (Root 121, Malan 70, Hameed 68, Burns 61, Shami 4-95, Bumrah 2-59) by 139 runs

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
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India Can Do Something Similar Like The 2001 Kolkata Test, Says Inzamam-ul-Haq

Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain praised India’s fightback on Day 3 that saw them only lose two wickets and close in on a mammoth first-innings lead. The fifties from Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara have instilled hope into India’s chances as the 3rd Test heads into its final two days.

After wrapping up proceedings with the ball on Day 3, India stared at a 354-run deficit. The visitors lost KL Rahul right at the end of the first session but managed to escape unscathed in the second session of the day. Despite losing Rohit Sharma, the pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have kept India afloat with their unbeaten stand for the third wicket.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq notes how India was initially on the backfoot just like they were in the 2001 Test in Kolkata against Australia. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted an entire day to send India from a follow-on deficit to a match-winning lead.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam said: “I remember the India vs Australia Test, where Laxman had scored 281 and Dravid scored 180, India can do something similar now. The way they are playing, they lost only two wickets in the entire day, this is a huge deal under such pressure”

India won the match by 171 runs after being forced to follow on, only the third time this has happened since Test cricket began in 1877. The Australian team, rated as the best in the world, had won 16 Tests in a row, a Test cricket record, including the previous Test at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai by 10 wickets.

VVS Laxman (left) returns to the pavilion with Rahul Dravid at the end of the fourth day of the second Test match between India and Australia at Eden Gardens in Calcutta © Getty Images
VVS Laxman (left) returns to the pavilion with Rahul Dravid at the end of the fourth day of the second Test match between India and Australia at Eden Gardens in Calcutta © Getty Images

The match is remembered for VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid’s batting performance, Harbhajan Singh’s hattrick and last day wicket-taking, Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket-taking spell on the final day, and Sourav Ganguly’s aggressive brand of captaincy in deciding to go for the improbable victory and not just a draw.

After India trailed by more than 250 runs in the first innings, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman batted the entirety of day four to build up a lead of 384. In the process, VVS Laxman also posted what was, at that time, the highest individual score by an Indian. VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) both departed to standing ovations from the capacity Eden Gardens crowd. The two eventually added 376 in that game-changing stand.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Rohit Sharma Should Have Stayed Longer

Coming into England, Rohit Sharma’s ability to open the batting in England’s challenging conditions was questioned, given his natural style of play. While he showed a glimpse of that at the World Test Championship final, he has unfurled into a classic red ball batsman on the ongoing tour.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. Image Credits: Twitter

Inzamam-ul-Haq added: “India have made a good comeback. India’s batting unit is experienced, and they showed their experience as well. Rohit Sharma, who was set at 59, should have stayed longer according to me. He had the ability, the oitch was in favour and he had moved past the initial tough stage.”

India is still 139 runs behind England with Cheteshwar Pujara (91*) nearing a century while Virat Kohli (45) keeps him company at the other end.

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