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India vs England: Mark Wood returns as tourists make one change from their XI for Rajkot Test

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Rajkot's leading cricket writer

video caption, India vs England: Ben Stokes says extra seamer will give tourists best chance in Rajkot

India vs England, 3rd Test

place: Rajkot Dates: February 15-19 time: 04:00 GMT

coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, with a special audio broadcast of the daily Test match on BBC Sounds

England selected two seamers in the XI for the first time in the series against India, with Mark Wood recalled for the third Test in Rajkot.

Wood replaces off-spinner Shoaib Bashir in the only change from the side that was beaten in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed plays after visa issues on his return to India after England's holiday in Abu Dhabi.

Captain Ben Stokes will play his 100th Test, the 16th Englishman to reach the milestone.

England have played in one of the previous two Tests at this ground, a high-scoring tie on their 2016 tour.

“Looking at the wicket and taking some information from the last Test we played here, we feel bringing in another seamer will give us the best chance,” Stokes told BBC Sport.

“I know it's been a very long time since we played here, but it looks good. Yesterday it looked very English. It's a little different today.

“It's a little flat. Over the course of the five days, those boards might get a little uneven. There might be some reverse swing, which brings Woody into the game.”

England XI to play third Test against India: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Fox (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, James Anderson.

Wood, who played in the first Test win in Hyderabad, was dropped in Visakhapatnam and returns to partner James Anderson, who needs five more wickets to reach 700 in Tests.

Bashir withdraws after making his debut in the second Test, leaving Tom Hartley and Ahmed as rotation options, along with breaks for Joe Root.

What England described as a “discrepancy” in Ahmed's visa was discovered when the team returned to India from their holiday in the UAE.

The 19-year-old had a single-entry visa, rather than the required multiple-entry version. This was not related to the problems that Al-Bashir faced at the beginning of the tour when he had to return to the United Kingdom.

Ahmed received a 72-hour visa to return to the province and now has the correct papers for the rest of the tour.

Stokes, 32, will reach his century in international caps just over 10 years after making his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide.

The captain has had one of the most iconic careers in English cricket history, starring in two World Cup finals victories and staging a legendary run to defeat Australia by one wicket in the Headingley Ashes Test in 2019.

“I'm looking forward to getting the presentation done and dusted off and then it can be all cricket,” he said. “I'm proud to say that I've been able to play a part in 100 Tests, because it's absolutely fantastic.” A lot, it's a lot of a warm-up match, it's another match and hopefully there will be more to come.

Stokes excelled with a number of individual performances and excelled as the team's captain, winning 14 out of 20 matches since taking charge in 2022.

He identified the match against South Africa in Cape Town in 2020, when he took a wicket late in the fifth day to win the match, as his favourite.

“I bowled some catches, scored some runs, got some wickets and we ended up winning,” Stokes said. “This is how I judge my personal performance, and it has an impact on us winning the match.”

India have all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja available after he missed the second Test due to a hamstring injury.

All-rounder Jasprit Bumrah, the series' leading wicket-taker, looks set to play despite some suggestions that he could be rested.

With the five-match series tied 1-1, England remain on course to become the first visiting team to win a series here since 2012. They will have to battle the heat in Rajkot, where temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees Celsius above 35 degrees Celsius. weekend.

“The score is a fair reflection of the cricket played in the first two matches,” Stokes said.

“The focus is on this match and then everything after that. If we play anywhere near our ability, we will give ourselves a good chance of winning. If we play good cricket, the results will take care of themselves.”

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