As the India vs England Test series progresses to its pivotal third match on February 15, 2024, at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot, the stakes have never been higher. Both teams are eager to gain the upper hand, with the series tantalizingly poised at 1-1. 

Despite Virat Kohli’s absence from the series and KL Rahul not playing in the third Test, the Men in Blue are in a position of strength. The team’s depth in batting, with Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Yashasvi Jaiswal, showcases a blend of experience and youthful exuberance. Sarfaraz Khan, who has piled on so many runs in domestic cricket and for India A, is set to debut now that Rahul is ruled out. 

The bowling department, spearheaded by Ravichandran Ashwin, is expected to exploit the Rajkot pitch. It could make an impact as the game progresses. Jasprit Bumrah has also been in stellar bowling form. He will likely pose a challenge for England.

England faces its own set of challenges, notably the absence of Jack Leach for the rest of the series. The English side, however, is full of talent and determination. England feel confident in the subcontinent conditions with experienced campaigners and resilient newcomers. The team will lean on the prowess of players like Joe Root and Ben Stokes and the potential of newcomers to bounce back from their loss in the second Test.

Probable Playing XIs

India: Rohit Sharma (C), Yashavi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Sarfaraz Khan, Rajat Patidar, KS Bharat/ Dhruv Jurel (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes, Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson.

Key Players

Yashasvi Jaiswal, with his remarkable run tally of 321 runs, including a double century, stands out as India’s batting beacon. His ability to confidently face any bowler makes him a crucial player for India in this match. 

Zak Crawley, with his consistent performance and technique, is pivotal for England. He provides the team with solid starts and stability at the top of the order. He has already smashed two fifties in this series and will be eager to notch up a century in this match.

Match Prediction

The match offers a riveting narrative of competition and skill. With its home advantage and a formidable spin arsenal, India is slightly favoured to take the lead in the series. However, England’s adaptability and robust lineup present a formidable challenge. This Test is likely to be decided by crucial moments and the ability of each team to seize opportunities.

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