Unchanged India bat against England in third Test

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England's Rory Burns (right) sets off for a run on the first day of the third cricket Test match between England and India at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, northern England, on August 25, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
LEEDS — India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat as his unchanged side faced England in the third Test at Headingley on Wednesday.
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Kohli's men are 1–0 up in the five-match series after an impressive 151–run victory in the second Test at Lord's and the star batsman had said Tuesday "you don't want to disturb a winning side".

Ravichandran Ashwin remained on the sidelines, with the off-spinner yet to feature this series after being left out of both the rain-marred drawn first Test at Trent Bridge as well as at Lord's.

"It looks like a pitch which doesn't have much grass on it," said Kohli at the toss.

"Runs on the board will be crucial to set up this Test match," he added.

India still have left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in the team and Kohli, asked about the decision to again omit Ashwin, said: "We thought about it, but the pressure of the extra seamer in English conditions is always very, very handy. 
"Jadeja will come into this game more than the last Test match. The pitch is going to offer him much more than it did in the first two games."

Meanwhile, England fast bowler Craig Overton returned to Test side for the first time in two years as he saw off a challenge from the uncapped Saqib Mahmoood for the last place in the hosts' team.

The Somerset paceman last played Test cricket during the 2019 Ashes but has been recalled in place of the injured Mark Wood, with the Durham quick joining a growing list of sidelined England bowlers that includes Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone, with all-rounder Ben Stokes currently out of action while he takes a break for mental health issues. 

There was also a recall for batsman Dawid Malan at number three on his Yorkshire home ground, with Haseeb Hameed promoted to open in place of the dropped Dom Sibley.

"I'm not disappointed to be bowling," said captain Joe Root. "There's some cloud cover and it's a little bit tacky."

Root, asked about England's decision to select Overton ahead of Mahmood, replied: "It was made purely on conditions. Both have shown promise and performance this summer. 

"Craig has been knocking on the door for a long time."

Turning to the new opening pair of Burns and Hameed, key batsman Root replied: "I've got a huge amount of confidence in them. England is one of the hardest places to ply that trade. I know how tough it can be. 

"Those guys have got great temperaments and they've got the opportunity to get us off to a good start when we do bat."


England: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson

India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

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