Ahmedabad: Senior speedster Umesh Yadav's fitness test, which will be conducted in two days time, will determine if he can join Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma in a three-prong India pace attack for the upcoming Day/Night Test against England.
The Test, which will be played with the pink ball, will start here on February 24.
It is learnt that the Indian team management wants to play to its strength and there could be a turner on offer with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel ready to exploit the conditions to the fullest.
With Ashwin and Axar accounting for 15 of the 20 wickets in the second Test, India, keeping in mind the swinging pink ball under lights, might drop Kuldeep Yadav and include a third pacer.
Bumrah automatically comes back after rest and the toss-up will be between Umesh and Mohammed Siraj for the third pacer's slot.
"Umesh's fitness test will happen in a couple of days time," said a senior BCCI official on Friday.
Umesh was ruled out during the second Test against Australia in Melbourne last December due to a calf muscle injury.
He has been an effective bowler on Indian tracks and was menacing during the country's inaugural Day/Night Test in Kolkata.
However, it will be interesting to see how dry the Motera wicket is considering there could be dew.
"Look, it doesn't matter if the ball is red or pink. If you keep a dry wicket, ball will turn and extra lacquer won't be of any consequence," a former India spinner said when asked for his opinion.
"However, if there is dew then obviously the ball will start skidding and it might just be good for batting. So that can't be discounted," he said.
Hardik feels unreal
Ahmedabad: Ahead of the third Test against England, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya posted his picture with Motera Stadium in the background on social media and said it was a surreal experience to be at the world's largest cricket stadium.
"It feels surreal to be out here at the world's largest cricket stadium, Motera. Absolutely magnificent," Pandya said in a tweet.
For the upcoming day-night Test at Motera Stadium, both the Indian and England teams arrived in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The four-match series currently stands level at 1-1 and now both teams will lock horns in a pink-ball Test, beginning February 24. The fourth Test of the series will also be played at the Motera Stadium.
The BCCI's selection committee on Wednesday announced that pacer Umesh Yadav will join the team in Ahmedabad after his fitness Test for the third and fourth Test against England. Umesh will replace Shardul Thakur in the squad, and the latter will be released for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Apart from this, the selection committee has decided to not make any other change in the squad and every other player has been retained who was in the squad for the first two Tests.
India achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands levelled at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings.
Ravichandran Ashwin took an eight-wicket haul in the second Test, along with his 106-run knock in the second innings.
He shared a crucial 96-run partnership with Kohli and this helped the hosts to post a healthy target in front of England. India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship after completing an impressive victory over England in the second Test to draw level in the four-match series.
The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India.
India squad for last two Tests
Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj.