Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Mark Wood replaces Shoaib Bashir as England name two seamers for third Test against India -Dlight News

Mark Wood returns to the England side for the third Test against India, starting on Thursday in Rajkot.

Wood replaces Shoaib Bashir, who made his debut in the 106-run loss in the second Test, as England name two seamers in their starting line-up for the first time in the series.

The Durham quick did not take a wicket in the series opener in Hyderabad, where spin dominated affairs as England claimed a famous 28-run win, and Wood was then left out of the second Test in favour of James Anderson.

England’s line-up for third Test

1. Zak Crawley, 2. Ben Duckett, 3. Ollie Pope, 4. Joe Root, 5. Jonny Bairstow, 6. Ben Stokes (C), 7. Ben Foakes, 8. Rehan Ahmed, 9. Tom Hartley, 10. Mark Wood, 11. James Anderson

Anderson took five wickets in the Vizag defeat to move within five of reaching 700 in Test cricket, with the 41-year-old retaining his place in the side as part of a two-seamer strategy instead of off-spinner Bashir.

On bringing in Wood for Bashir, captain Ben Stokes said: “Taking a bit of knowledge from the last Test match we played here, albeit a long time ago, it was a pretty true, flat wicket.

“Looking at it today, it looks a bit platey but I think it’s a good wicket. Bringing in an extra seamer this week is the option we’ve gone with because we think it’s going to give us the best chance of winning this week.”

Rehan Ahmed is included for the third consecutive Test, having taken eight wickets in the series at a respectable average of 36.37 so far and also contributed 70 runs, with his visa issue now understood to be resolved.

England's Rehan Ahmed celebrates the wicket of India's Rajat Patidar on the first day of the second cricket test match between India and England in Visakhapatnam, India, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Rehan Ahmed will start for England in Rajkot

The leg-spinner’s single-entrance visa expired when he left for England’s mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates and he was initially red-flagged upon the team’s return to India on Monday. He was granted an emergency two-day visa but is now set to be available to play.

Stokes rules out bowling return

Stokes is set to make his 100th Test appearance, over a decade on from his debut in the 2013/14 Ashes series, becoming the 16th Englishman to reach the landmark.

Even though Jack Leach is out of the last three Tests, Stokes will stick to his pledge not to bowl in this series following surgery on a longstanding left knee injury 11 weeks ago.

Stokes, who last bowled competitively in July last year, sent down three overs in training on Tuesday morning at what he estimated was about 70 per cent intensity.

“It’s little and often now,” the 32-year-old said. “We don’t have a plan with where I go with my intensity. It’s just how I feel at the time, but also not getting too far ahead. It was another step forward.

“But I’ve pinky promised my physio I won’t be loosening up to bowl even if everything is feeling well because that would just be a risk that’s not worth it.”

England Test series in India 2024

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the third Test between India and England, in Rajkot, live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Thursday (first ball at 4am).

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