Key Pacer Returns as England Reveal Lineup for 3rd Test Against India

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The series is currently tied at 1-1, following India’s impressive comeback with a resounding 106-run victory in the second game. England has announced their playing XI for the third Test against India at Rajkot’s Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) stadium, starting on Thursday, February 15. England made one change to their lineup, bringing back Mark Wood into the side to replace off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, who made his debut in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. This change means that England will be playing two pacers for the first time in the series, as Wood joins veteran James Anderson in the team. Bashir had an impressive debut, taking four wickets, with three coming in the first innings. However, Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed performed better with the ball, and Joe Root filled in the off-spinner’s role. Given the flat wicket in Rajkot, England decided to go with an extra pace option. Wood’s inclusion provides England with an X-factor, which they might need if the wicket doesn’t wear down enough in 3-4 days. The rest of the lineup remains the same, although England hopes for more runs from their middle-order, especially former captain Joe Root, who has scored 29, 2, 5, and 16 in the first two matches. The upcoming third Test holds immense significance for the overall outcome of the series. England playing XI for Rajkot Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes(c), Ben Foakes(w), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, James Anderson, Mark Wood.