Six selection questions facing England ahead of the third India Test - Barmy Army Menu
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Six selection questions facing England ahead of the third India Test

With the scores level at 1-1, England and India meet for the third Test of their four-match series on Wednesday at the 110,000-seater Sardar Patel Stadium, in Ahmedabad.

Joe Root’s side claimed a heavy victory in the series opener but their hosts were comprehensive winners in the second of two Tests in Chennai.

The third Test offers the tourists a chance to bounce back and as it’s a day/night game, the additional swing the pink ball often provides could be a huge advantage.

England named their 17-strong squad last week, with the return of Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, and Mark Wood the headline news.

But with so many quality options available to them, Root and Chris Silverwood have a few selection dilemmas ahead of Wednesday…

Who should bat at no 3?

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Dan Lawrence has been England’s no 3 for the first two Tests of the series and while he’s not been at his best, he did show his quality in Sri Lanka last month.

However, with Crawley now fit and Bairstow having joined up the squad after his rest, the tourists may consider a change.

Bairstow was hugely impressive at 3 during the Sri Lanka series, while the last time Crawley batted their he made a majestic 267.

Certainly not a bad dilemma to have for England but an interesting one all the same.

Which of their talented young batsmen should play?

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Crawley’s return to fitness means all three of England’s talented 23-year-old batsmen are available for the third Test.

Lawrence has batted three and Ollie Pope six so far this series, so should they keep their places or should Crawley return to the side?

It seems unlikely England can find a way to fit all three in the XI and with Bairstow also back, it’s going to be intriguing to see who gets the nod.

Who takes the gloves?

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Ben Foakes took the gloves for the second Test after Jos Buttler returned home to rest but with Bairstow back in the squad, England now have another option.

Foakes was arguably our best player in the defeat in Chennai and his keeping was exquisite, so it seems likely that he will remain in the side for the third Test but Root and Silverwood do have the option to change if they feel it’s necessary.

Should Jimmy and Broady play together?

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England’s strategy this winter has been to rotate their two fast bowling legends, with both playing two Tests and the duo never featuring in the same match.

The fact that the third Test is a day/night game could mean they look to change that.

The pink ball tends to swing more than the red ball and there would be no better way for them to take advantage of that than by playing the seam bowlers with the most and fourth-most Test wickets of all time together.

Anderson and Broad are one of the great bowling duos, it would be fantastic to see them together again on Wednesday.

How many spinners should they select?

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Given the way that spin is often king in India, playing two spinners is the tactic that most Test sides go with.

However, the pink ball and the impact of it being a day/night game means that England may consider only playing just one in the third Test.

It seems likely that would be Jack Leach given he’s played all four of the matches this winter and he wouldn’t be without support as we all know how dangerous Rooty can be with the ball.

How should their pace attack look?

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Whether or not England opt for two spinners, they still have some very interesting decisions to make in the fast bowling department.

Archer is back fit, Wood has joined the squad, Olly Stone was excellent in the second Test, Jimmy and Broad are well they’re Jimmy and Broad, and Chris Woakes has shown his brilliance over the past 18 months.

The term embarrassment of riches seems appropriate here.