For hosts England, a series win will be on the line after a 31-run win at Edgbaston was followed up by an innings victory at Lord’s.
The visitors, meanwhile, have their ‘backs against the wall’ in the words of skipper Virat Kohli as they seek a silver lining to what has been a shambolic tour so far for the No1 ranked Test team in the world.
Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the Nottingham showdown.
UNLUCKY SAM CURRAN MISSES OUT AS STOKES RETURNS
Once star all-rounder Ben Stokes was cleared of the affray charges by the Bristol Crown Court, the question on everyone’s lips was whom he would replace should he play at Trent Bridge.
That question was answered on Friday by skipper Joe Root who confirmed Stokes’ return to the playing XI with Sam Curran being the unfortunate player to miss out. While Root has called it as the ‘toughest selection call’ he has had to make as England Test skipper, it is hard not to feel for 20-year-old Curran who put in a man-of-the-match performance at Edgbaston in what was only the second Test match of his fledgling career.
INDIA GET JASPRIT BUMRAH BOOST
Nothing has gone right for India on the tour ever since they took a 1-0 lead in the preceding ODI series but they were handed a significant boost ahead of the Trent Bridge Test with pacer Jasprit Bumrah being declared fit to play.
The visitors’ pace battery had been severely handicapped by injuries to both Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the former’s return should lift the spirits within the Indian camp.
If he does feature as expected on Saturday, it will only be the fourth match of a still young Test career but he has already shown he has the tools to succeed with the red-ball after an excellent debut tour of South Africa where he picked up 14 wickets in three matches.
Ravi Shastri admitted that playing Kuldeep Yadav at Lord’s was a mistake and the wrist-spinner will be the most likely one to make way for Bumrah’s return.
STUART BROAD ON VERGE OF JOINING EXCLUSIVE CLUB
If Lord’s is James Anderson’s favourite stomping ground, then Trent Bridge is Stuart Broad’s.
It was on this ground that he delivered his career-best figures of 8-15 in the 2015 Ashes Test against arch-rivals Australia. When India came calling to Nottingham in their tour of 2011, they had gained the upper hand in the match before Broad dragged the hosts back with a sensational hat-trick in the first innings before England ultimately walked away with a mammoth 319-run win.
Thirty-seven wickets in eight matches in Trent Bridge at an average just over 20 should make India fearful of Broad. Should the senior England pacer register 12 runs in the Test, he will become only the fifth player in history after Shane Warne, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Shaun Pollock to have scored 3,000 runs while also picking up at least 400 wickets.
TRENT BRIDGE OFFERS PROMISE TO BOTH TEAMS
While India are hurting currently, they can take comfort from the fact that Trent Bridge has seen them play some of their best cricket in England. Bar the 319-run defeat in 2011, the Indians have not lost at the venue in their last five visits. It was the setting of their series victory in 2007 when Zaheer Khan led India to a seven-wicket win at the venue.
However, England’s record at the ground is nothing to be scoffed at either. Only once have the hosts been beaten at Nottingham over the course of the last decade. That defeat came against South Africa last year. Worryingly for India, England have won six of their last eight Tests at the venue.
Speaking on the eve of the third Test at Nottingham on Friday, Kohli stated the visitors were only thinking about winning.
“Only thing we have spoken about is to focus on what the team requires. When your back is against the wall, you can’t afford to think of anything else. If you look at it from another point of view it is actually a good situation to be in because you literally have no room for thinking about anything apart from what the team requires,” said Kohli.
“The only option we have is to win this game and nothing else and you need to show that in your body language, in your intent, the way you go about things.”
Amidst the doom and gloom that has surrounded the Indian camp, there was some good news for the visitors with Kohli declaring pacer Jasprit Bumrah fit to play in the third Test.
“Very excited with Jasprit getting fit again. He is very consistent in hitting the areas that are required at the Test level. He’s shown that in South Africa already. He is one guy who is aggressive and makes the batsman feel uncomfortable in the middle. That has been his biggest strength and he relishes the challenge whenever given the opportunity. We are very excited that he is back. It is great to have someone like that on the park,” the skipper added.
India’s batsmen, bar Kohli, have been found wanting against the moving ball in England and the captain is keeping the option of playing an extra batsman open depending upon the conditions.
“It depends on the surface. If it has got enough assistance for the bowler then the extra batter might come into play. If it is going to be even, then picking 20 wickets is the priority. It’s about one discipline taking responsibility of their job. Both possibilities are there depending on the pitch,” Kohli remarked.
Ben Stokes has been named in the England team to play India in the third Test at Trent Bridge after being cleared of affray earlier this week, captain Joe Root has said.
Stokes, who was acquitted just three days ago after a case which began almost 11 months earlier following a late-night brawl in the Clifton area of Bristol, will replace his fellow all-rounder Sam Curran against India at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Root described the switch as “probably one of the most difficult selections” he has been part of as Test captain, but added Stokes is confident he is mentally ready to play again.
Stokes missed the Lord’s victory which last week took England 2-0 up with three to play because of a clash with his court date.
Curran is one of several England might have chosen to step aside, despite his man-of-the-match performance in a thrilling 31-run victory for the hosts in the first Test at Edgbaston.
“Sam misses out – Ben comes into the side,” Root said at the start of his pre-match press conference in Nottingham.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve had to make as captain.”
The decision was made only after he personally consulted with Stokes, to be confident the match would not come too soon for the 27-year-old former vice-captain, and all management staff kept a close eye on his preparation over the past two days.
“He’s just desperate to get back playing cricket, make that his main focus,” said Root.
“I sat him down yesterday, just me and him, and asked him where he was at.
“He told me he’s desperate to get out there, wants to put in performances and concentrate on his cricket now.
“He felt he was ready to play. We obviously assessed his fitness as well, over the course of the two days.”