England captain Joe Root has a selection dilemma on his hands ahead of the third Test against India at Ahmedabad, where he hopes his side can buck the trend of touring teams collapsing to the pink ball.
Root was keeping all his options open ahead of the day-night contest and did not rule out James Anderson and Stuart Broad being unleashed in tandem for the first time this winter, having alternated so far on the subcontinent.
Jofra Archer is in contention after a cortisone injection on his elbow while Chris Woakes, Olly Stone and Mark Wood are also waiting in the wings amid optimism the seamers will have more assistance than they have had in the series.
While being tight-lipped about the make-up of his side, Root emphatically rejected a suggestion from Anderson that he and Broad’s long-term partnership, which has brought them more than 1,100 Test wickets, is drawing to a close.
Asked if there was a prospect both could feature at the 110,000-capacity Motera Stadium, which is expected to be around half full this week, Root said: “They have got a chance. It’s a great selection headache to have.
“I think you’d be wrong to write off those two to do anything, with the records they have had.
“The things they have produced, especially in the last couple of years, have been a reason they are up there with the top three bowlers in the world. They are consistently getting better, the older they get.
“They are using their experience to their advantage all the time. I’m sure there will be opportunities where they get to play together in the near future and much further down the line as well.
“You are talking about two of England’s greatest bowlers and the records they set will be very difficult for anyone to surpass. I feel there’s a lot of life left in them both.
“Add in guys like Jofra, Woody, Woakes, all these skilful bowlers around them, we are building a very good team that they are very much at the front of.”
England have to make at least one change after Moeen Ali’s departure from the tour but the expectation is there will be more, with Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow available after a wrist injury and rest respectively.
They could bolster an England top-order which failed its spin test in Chennai last week as India levelled the four-match series at 1-1. Dan Lawrence could make way while Rory Burns is under the microscope after a lean run of form.
England’s last day-night Test was three years ago, when they were skittled for 58 against New Zealand in Auckland, and while India have more recent experience, they capitulated to 36 all out in Australia in December.
There have only been 15 pink-ball Tests and the home side has prevailed on 13 occasions, but despite the small sample size Root acknowledged there has been a pattern of batting slumps that have proved decisive in many matches.
“I think there’s been a trend in all the pink-ball Test matches of collapses on occasion,” Root added. “It’s something as a batting group you need to make sure you stop.
“One thing that stands out is that it’s vital you make sure you use those first 20 balls to get used to the conditions and be very aware of how things can change throughout the day.
“These strange passages of play have happened. When you get that opportunity and you’re on the right side of it with the ball in hand in the field you have to take the opportunity and make it really count in your favour.”
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