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  5. 3 pacers or 3 spinners? Will India go with conditions or back their strengths for Dharamsala Test?

3 pacers or 3 spinners? Will India go with conditions or back their strengths for Dharamsala Test?

The fifth and final Test between India and England is set to commence on March 7 (Thursday) in Dharamsala. India have already won the series with an unassailable lead of 3-1 and will be keen on adding one more win to their kitty in the ongoing World Test Championship.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: March 06, 2024 8:38 IST
IND vs ENG
Image Source : GETTY Rahul Dravid and Ajit Agarkar

India might have already won the five-match Test series against England but the conditions in Dharamsala for the last Test has put them in a major dilemma in terms of selection. World Test Championship makes every Test very crucial and if we go by the conditions, one shouldn't be surprised if they go on to play three pace bowlers.

It has been raining in lead up to the Test match in Dharamsala while the sun is barely coming out to open up cracks on the surface. One thing is certain that the pitch will not have a green tinge on it as it will help England pacers more who look set to play three pace bowlers in this Test. However, even without grass, the overcast conditions in Dharamsala will lead to the red-cherry moving a lot in the air.

As for India, all the focus currently is now on Ravichandran Ashwin who will take the field for the landmark 100th time in Test cricket. But the skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid will be tinkering the idea of playing only two spinners if conditions remain the same way. Even the numbers in domestic cricket played here support the fast bowlers as they have picked 122 wickets in four Ranji Trophy matches this season at an average of 23.17.

On the contrary, the spinners have accounted only for seven wickets at 58.42 which is a massive difference. However, in the only Test match that was played here between India and Australia back in March 2017, spinners had accounted for 18 out of 32 wickets to fall. Moreover, Australia spinner Nathan Lyon had picked up the only five-wicket haul in the Test which indicates the pitch domestic cricket and international game varies drastically. Having said that, the pitch on offer in the IND vs AUS Test wasn't entirely a turner.

Coming back to India's playing XI, currently it seems like there will be only one change with Jasprit Bumrah replacing Akash Deep in the playing XI. But if they decide to play three seamers looking at the conditions, then the management can have a problem with Kuldeep Yadav performing brilliantly while it seems unlikely that they will drop either of Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja.

India probable playing XI: Rohit Sharma (C), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

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