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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Virat Kohli insists India not worried by pink-ball threat ahead of third Test against England

Home captain unfazed by possible assistance given to opposition seamers in day-night clash at newly-rebuilt Motera Stadium that starts on Wednesday

India captain Virat Kohli insisted his side are unfazed by the possibility of extra assistance for England's seamers with the pink ball in the third Test at Ahmedabad.

The tourists have been encouraged by what they have seen in net practice for the day-night affair at the newly-rebuilt Motera Stadium at Ahmedabad.

While any seam-friendly conditions would be expected to give England a boost after they failed their trial by spin in Chennai last week as India levelled the four-match series, Kohli is contented by the options he has available.

In Jasprit Bumrah, India have one of the world's best pacemen while Ishant Sharma, who is set to make his 100th Test appearance on Wednesday, took nine wickets in the only previous day-night contest to be held in the country.

On that occasion in Kolkata, in November 2019, all of India's wickets against Bangladesh were taken by fast-bowlers, but even if the tourists get their wish, Kohli is not concerned.

"We're not really bothered about what the strengths and weaknesses of the English team are," Kohli said. "We have beaten them on their home as well where the ball does way more and bowled them out every time.

"There are many, many weaknesses in the opposition side as well if you are keen to exploit them. If the seamer-friendly track is for them it's for us as well.

"And we probably have, among other teams the best bowling attack in the world so we're not really bothered by what the ball might bring differently to the table. We're ready for anything that comes out of it."

Both teams have had painful experiences of pink-ball cricket. India were bowled out for 36 by Australia in Adelaide in December and New Zealand skittled England in Auckland for 58 in 2018.

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"Both are bizarre experiences for two quality sides," Kohli said. "Barring that 45 minutes of bad cricket [in Adelaide] we dominated the Test match. We are very confident in how we play the pink ball."

Root agreed that batsmen need to careful – and not just in the evening when the lights come on the ball can start swinging.

"I think there's been a trend in all the pink-ball Test matches of collapses on occasion," Root said. "It seems to be a trend and it's something as a batting group you need to make sure you stop.

"It's sometimes been right at the start of the game, you know the morning session, late on in Day 4, that this strange sort of passages of play has happened."

The Ahmedabad stadium has a capacity of 110,000 people and authorities have allowed 55,000 tickets to go on sale each day.

Each side has had a convincing win in the first two Tests. England won the first by 227 runs, while India claimed the second by 317 runs. Both need a win to keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Test Championship final.

Published: February 23, 2021 06:25 PM

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