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India vs England: Ollie Pope says tourists could play two seamers in third Test

India vs England: Ollie Pope says tourists could play two seamers in third Test

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

video caption,

Stokes changed the game – Bob

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 vice-captain Ollie Pope says there is “every chance” the tourists will field an extra seamer for the third Test against India in Rajkot.

England have selected just one specialist fast bowler for each of the first two Tests, with the series level at 1-1.

On Tuesday, two days before the start of the third Test on Thursday, the Rajkot stadium was covered in green grass.

“If it stays like this, there is every chance of two seamers playing,” batsman Bob told BBC Sport.

“I don't want to reveal too many secrets, but at the moment there is a bit of grass on it. The pitch looks very good.

“We always like to make a decision here the day before testing starts because conditions can change, especially with temperatures rising throughout the day.”

If England opt for the extra seamer, Mark Wood could join James Anderson in the starting XI. Wood's left leg was bandaged on Tuesday but he was still able to take a full role in training.

Ollie Robinson, who bowled a long spell at the back of the net, would be another option.

Young spinners Rehan Ahmed, Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley will have to make way, with Ahmed perhaps the player most likely to miss out.

Ahmed, 19, was training on Tuesday after facing a “discrepancy” with his visa as England returned to India after a break in Abu Dhabi.

This was a visa issue separate from the delays suffered by Bashir at the start of the tour, during which he had to return to the UK.

An English statement said: “There was a discrepancy in the paperwork with Rehan Ahmed’s visa. The local authorities at Rajkot airport were supportive, enabling Rehan to enter on a temporary visa.”

“The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days. He will continue to prepare with the rest of the team ahead of the third Test.”

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo,

Mark Wood could be called into the side if England field two seamers in Rajkot

England are sure to be without top spinner Jack Leach, after he left the tour with a knee injury.

India remain without Virat Kohli, who will miss the rest of the series due to personal reasons, while batsman KL Rahul is still injured. The uncapped duo of Sarfaraz Khan and Devdutt Padikkal are vying for a place in the middle order.

England captain Ben Stokes will play his 100th Test in Rajkot, 11 years after making his debut against Australia in Adelaide.

Stokes, 32, will become the 16th English player to reach the milestone, the latest milestone in his career.

“What a legend of the game,” Bob said. “There are a lot of great memories from his career.

“It's a credit to him. What his body has been through – he gives 110% in every test he plays, and he plays every test like it's his last. You never know what you're going to get.”

“He can do ridiculous things on the field, with bat and ball. I hope that continues for a long time over the next few years.”

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