Cheteshwar Pujara scored centuries in the opening two Test matches. Image courtesy of news.com.au
India and England resume hostilities in the 3rd Test at Eden Gardens on Wednesday, with the four matches series all square at 1-1. After India claimed an easy nine wicket win over the tourists in the series opener, England fought back with a dominant display in Mumbai and will go into the this match full of confidence.
Fast bowler Steven Finn is in contention for a recall after recovering from a thigh strain picked up in the first match of the tour and will put pressure on out of form quick Stuart Broad, who failed to pick up a wicket in either of the opening two matches. Monty Panesar will retain his place after taking 11 wickets in the last match, but allrounder Samit Patel may be dropped from the side after a pair of sub-par performances. Ian Bell – who was left out for the last match – would return in his place to strengthen a batting order that has relied largely on Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen . They both scored centuries in Mumbai and are the only players in the top six to have come to grips with the dry pitches in the sub-continent.
Much of the hosts preparations have centred around the form of ‘Little Master’ Sachin Tendulkar , who has scored just 29 runs in his last three visits to the crease. Tendulkar has now gone 23 months without a Test century and has failed to pass 30 in any of his past 10 innings. The conjecture surrounding his performances has overshadowed the fine efforts of Cheteshwar Pujara , who has accumulated 388 runs at an average of 194 against Cook’s side. With the surface at Eden Gardens expected to provide more ‘pace and bounce’, India could ditch one of the three spin bowlers that wasn’t able to get the job done last time around.
Nine of the past 11 Test matches in Kolkata have produced a result, while the venue has also been a happy hunting ground for the hosts, who have won five of the past seven there. None of the past six Tests between these sides have ended in a draw .
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