India vs England: India have levelled the series, but can they move on from Adelaide rout of 36 all out in Motera Test?

A general view of the Sardar Patel Stadium, the world's biggest cricket stadium, is pictured ahead of the third Test match between India and England, in Motera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad
A general view of the Sardar Patel Stadium, the world’s biggest cricket stadium, is pictured ahead of the third Test match between India and England, in Motera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad
Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: After levelling the series 1-1, India and England are getting ready for the third Test on Wednesday in Ahmedabad.

The newly built Sardar Patel Stadium or Motera Stadium where the third Test is about to be staged is the world’s largest cricket venue with a capacity to accommodate 110,000 spectators. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 55,000 spectators will be allowed to enter the stadium and tickets for this much anticipated match were sold out weeks before.

Another important aspect of this match is that it’s a pink-ball Test, which means it will be played under the lights. India’s last experience of playing the pink-ball Test was nightmarish, to say the least. It was in the Adelaide pink-ball Test during the Australian tour that the Indians were bundled out for a paltry 36 runs, their record lowest total to date. The scars of that Test match will always be there, especially for Virat Kohli who was the Indian captain in that ill-fated match. After the Adelaide disaster, India did bounce back against Australia and won the series but I can assure you that all the players who were part of that match will be licking their wounds and nursing their pride for some time to come.

Kohli and his boys are waiting to set the record straight in this pink-ball Test match where a lot pride is at stake. The series is tied at 1-1 and India cannot afford to lose another game as it would cost them a place in the World Championship of Cricket. Secondly, the pink ball swings more than the traditional red ball and England would definitely bank on the huge experience of James Anderson and Stuart Broad who have 1,000 wickets between them. Add to that the pace of Jofra Archer who is raring to be back on team after missing the second Test due to injury and it is evident that winning at Motera is not going to be a walk in the park for the Indian batsmen.

Archer was delighted to see the grass on the wicket and went on to tweet: “It’s show time”. However, I am sure the grass will be shaved off by Wednesday because it would help the spinners. And both Ashwin and Axar Patel would be hoping to get the same assistance they got from the pitch in the second Test match which helped them to steamroll the hapless English batsmen in Chennai.

The only thing which could hamper the spinners is the dew factor which might make batting easy but dew is as unpredictable as how your first date will turn out to be.

Kohli has not scored a hundred for the whole of 2020 and also in the two Test matches played this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finally overcomes his dry spell and gets one in this most awaited Test match. It will lift not just him but whole countrymen who couldn’t wait to see their champion batsman at his audacious best.

Come Wednesday all eyes will be on the pink ball and how it behaves in the massive Motera stadium. India will be fighting hard to put the ghosts of Adelaide behind and bury the dubious record of ’36 all out’ once and for all. Much like Amitabh Bachchan in the Bollywood movie Deewar, who tried hard to erase a shameful scar on his arm.

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