Mohali Test: Virat Kohli’s India look to extend lead against England
A confident India will be looking to extend their 1-0 lead against England in the third match of the current five-Test series at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium on Saturday. (England will beat India 2-1 in Test series: Monty Panesar to India Today)With the deadlock broken in the most comprehensive manner at Visakhapatnam after the drawn first Test in Rajkot, India will look to carry forward their performance to take a 2-0 lead. India decimated England by 246 runs in Vizag to go 1-0 up in the series. The build-up of the match has been shadowed by India skipper Virat Kohli’s alleged ball tampering controversy. (Virat Kohli happy with Decision Review System)A British tabloid recently published images of Kohli allegedly applying saliva to shine the ball after chewing on some sticky substance during the first Test.The International Cricket Council (ICC) didn’t take any action as the incident wasn’t reported by the match referee or the umpires. England also didn’t lodge any official complaints about the incident. (Vehemently defend Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis: Nasser Hussain to India Today)Kohli has brushed aside the allegations, saying the controversy was created to shift the focus away from the match.”This is just to take focus away from series, to me newspaper article doesn’t matter over ICC’s decision,” Kohli told reporters here on Friday.”I don’t read newspapers, was told five days later that such things happened, I just laughed it off,” he added. (Big blow for England, Stuart Broad to miss Mohali Test)advertisementWith conditions at Mohali favouring batsmen, India will likely name an unchanged side for the match — except for wicket keeper Parthiv Patel’s induction — while the visitors may make a few changes to their playing eleven.India have been served well by their batsmen in the series so far. Except for the opening pair of Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay, all batsmen have contributed to the team’s cause, displaying sparks of their individual brilliance. (Big blow for England, Stuart Broad to miss Mohali Test)Regular wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha has been omitted from the squad after developing a strain in his left thigh.It paved way for the inclusion of Parthiv Patel, who was called up after an eight-year gap. His batting abilities will give the hosts valuable support to their lower-order. (Alastair Cook seeks clarity from ICC on ball-shining practice)India will ponder long and hard over their bowling combination. The key question is who will be picked to provide support to star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.All-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav gave a good account of themselves in the second Test. Jayant was picked ahead of leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who was impressive in the first Test. (Anil Kumble rubbishes ball tampering allegations against Virat Kohli)But changing a winning team remains unlikely for the home side.Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been brought into the team might as well get a chance to play as the Mohali pitch traditionally favours the fast bowlers.Despite the defeat, England have improved on their overall game, with batsmen scoring decent number of runs and bowlers picking up wickets.Limited overs specialist Jos Buttler will replace the struggling Ben Duckett in a rejigged England batting lineup, skipper Alastair Cook has confirmed.The tourists will also miss the services of paceman Stuart Broad and left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari through injuries as they press for a series-levelling victory.Buttler played the last of his 15 Tests against Pakistan last year but Cook was confident the 26-year-old would overcome a lack of preparation and replicate his limited overs form in Test cricket.Duckett’s scores of 13, five and zero in his three innings in India underline his struggle against the spin with the promising 22-year-old claimed by Ashwin on all three occasions.Chris Woakes will replace Broad, while Bairstow, despite Buttler’s return, would balance his dual duties of keeping wickets along with his promotion in the batting order. The visitors will need to produce a consistent performance over five days to square the series.The toss can play an important role in the outcome of the match as the side winning it will look to bat first and score big, adding pressure on the opposition.