India train for third England Test with middle order still a concern - in pictures

Virat Kohli's team take a 1-0 lead into third Test which begins on Wednesday

India began preparations for the third Test against England at Headingley, Leeds full of confidence from their thrilling win in the Lord's Test but also burdened by worries about their middle order.

Virat Kohli's fast bowlers came to the rescue on the fifth day of the second Test as Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah first put together a precious 89-run stand after the England quicks threatened to run away with the game with the visitors' lead less than 200 and two wickets remaining.

Then, India's pace quartet that also included Ishant Sharma and the fiery Mohammed Siraj ran through England in a little over 50 overs to seal an improbable victory.

However, that did not paper over cracks in India's middle order. Captain Kohli has not scored a Test century since November 2019, Ajinkya Rahane has two fifties in his last 15 innings, while Cheteshwar Pujara's 45 in the second innings at Lord's was his best score in 11 outings.

Rahane scored a defiant 61 in the second innings at Lord's while Pujara batted for 206 balls to take the match into the fifth day.

But the form of India's middle order continues at attract questions. Rahane, however, said players like him and Pujara have been around long enough to not worry about negative comments as the team prepared for the third Test that begins on Wednesday.

"Cheteshwar and I have been playing for a long time, we know how to handle pressure, we know how to handle certain situations," Rahane said.

"We back each other. He told me to back my game, I told him to back his own game, whatever methods he wants to go with.

"We always talk about Cheteshwar, he plays slow, but that innings was really important for us. I think those 200 balls were really important for us."

Updated: August 24th 2021, 5:20 AM
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