Ben Stokes set for 100th Test with series against India level at 1-1 | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: As both teams deal with the absence of important players, Ben Stokes will earn his 100th Test cap when he captains England against India in the third Test, which gets underway in Rajkot on Thursday.
After England’s 28-run victory in Hyderabad, and India’s 106-run triumph in the second Test at Visakhapatnam, the five-match series is tied at one.

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In addition to England’s senior spinner Jack Leach being out of the final three matches due to a knee injury sustained in the first Test, India’s batsmen Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will be missing.
After England defeated India in the first Test match of the series in Hyderabad, only their fourth Test defeat at home since 2013, Stokes, 32, was praised for his leadership. He then vigorously pursued 399 to win in Visakhapatnam but was unsuccessful.
England have won 14 Tests out of 20 since Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took the reins with an attacking style dubbed “Bazball”, but one former great thinks the term is overplayed.
“Much of England’s success has been attributed to ‘Bazball’ — the desire to score quickly and tactically rattle the opposition — but this is a misnomer,” former Australia captain Ian Chappell was quoted as saying on Cricinfo.
“What Stokes has really done is set out to achieve victory from ball one by playing aggressive cricket — in all aspects of the game,” he added.
After recovering from knee surgery, all-rounder Stokes is playing in the series as a batter. Since making his Test debut in 2013, he has amassed 6,251 runs and claimed 197 wickets.
India’s best batsman, Virat Kohli, will miss the remaining matches of the series due to “personal reasons” after missing the first two Tests.
Despite being named in the team and predicted to be healthy for the remainder of the series following Rajkot, batsman Rahul will miss out again since he hasn’t fully recovered from missing the second Test.
After the second Test, the England team flew to Abu Dhabi to recuperate and spend time with family, but they have since returned to Rajkot to resume training.
After India had gained a 190-run lead in the first innings, Ollie Pope’s outstanding 196 reversed the tide of the match as Rohit Sharma‘s team lost the opening game of the series in Hyderabad.
In Visakhapatnam, India secured the series-levelling victory after surviving a few nervous moments amid England’s fierce chase.
England seamer James Anderson needs five more wickets to reach 700 Test victims, a record bettered only by spinners Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800). India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin needs just one wicket to complete the 500 Test dismissals in Rajkot.
If chosen, the 42-year-old Anderson will play in his 185th Test match. Young spinners Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, and Rehan Ahmed, who together have just six appearances, may also be included in the assault.
To date, England’s spinners-which include part-timer Joe Root-have remarkably outperformed their Indian counterparts, taking 33 wickets to their 23.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who shot to the top of the world Test bowling rankings after taking nine wickets in a match that displayed his reverse swing mastery, was the match-winner for India in Visakhapatnam.
Yashasvi Jaiswal tops the series batting records with 321 runs after hitting 209 in the first innings. Pope is next with 243, and England’s opener Zak Crawley is next with 200.
(With AFP inputs)


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