England v India third Test: Rishabh Pant set for debut at Trent Bridge

Sudhir Gupta 11:32 18/08/2018
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Rishabh Pant is all set for an India Test debut.

A Test debut for young Rishabh Pant is expected as England and India prepare to do battle in the third match of the series at Trent Bridge which gets underway on Saturday.

The 20-year-old is set to replace wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik in what is a must-win game for the visitors. Virat Kohli’s men have their backs to the wall after falling 0-2 behind in the five-match Test series and they will be hoping that Pant’s inclusion can provide the spark a turnaround.

Pant was seen hard at work with the wicketkeeping pads during the team’s practice session on Friday and all signs point towards him making his Test debut at Nottingham.

The left-hander proved his mettle for India ‘A’ in their recent shadow tour of England where he registered three half-centuries in four first-class innings. Karthik, meanwhile, has averaged just five with the bat since making his Test comeback for India and has struggled in the wicketkeeping department too on the tour of England so far.

Also, Jasprit Bumrah should make his long awaited return from injury. The pacer was declared fit to bowl in the Test by Kohli on Friday and will in all likelihood replace Kuldeep Yadav in the line-up.

In the batting department, the opening position remains an issue for India with none of Murali Vijay, KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan firing so far. While Vijay is expected to keep his place as the senior opener, it remains to be seen who Kohli picks as his partner at Trent Bridge.

Having recovered from the thumb injury he sustained against Ireland in a T20, Bumrah too, like Pant, was given an extended session on Friday and his comeback should be a huge boost for the visitors.

Hosts England announced their playing XI on Friday with the returning Ben Stokes replacing Sam Curran.

The all-rounder’s return, after being cleared of affray charges, is the only change to the England team which won at Lord’s with Chris Woakes keeping his place in the side after his player of the match performance.

India likely XI: Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami

England XI: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

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