1. Rohit Sharma vs James Anderson
Rohit Sharma scored one of the finest Test hundreds at home by an Indian batsman in the second Test in Chennai – his innings was the difference between the batting of the two sides in the contest. While other batsmen struggled to stay at the crease Rohit not only piled on the runs but did so at a very high strike rate. This makes him doubly dangerous at the top of the order.
But it will not be easy against the most successful pace bowler in Test cricket history. Anderson changed the course of the series opener with a devastating spell of reverse swing in the second innings and is well capable of repeating his feat with the Pink Ball. He will also be a handful with the new ball and is expected to get more seam movement and swing than the other bowlers.
Will Rohit be circumspect against the great fast bowler or attack him?
2. Cheteshwar Pujara vs Jofra Archer
Cheteshwar Pujara is India’s New Wall in Test cricket and has been at his best when the team has needed his services the most – he has defied the best opposition attacks all over the world time and again, including in Australia most recently, rescuing India from difficult positions when others around him have failed. Pujara could well be India’s most important batsman on a helpful track at Motera. If he can occupy one end for a significant period of time other Indian batsmen can bat around him.
Jofra Archer will be a handful to face under lights. He will pepper Pujara with the short-pitched stuff and then slide in the fuller length ball in between. Archer can bowl at pace and get the ball to rise from a length. How Pujara copes with the England fast bowler could set the tone for the rest of the match.
India vs England: Ahead of Motera Test, A Look Back at India’s Previous Pink Ball Encounters
3. Joe Root vs Axar Patel
While every one has been harping on the Root vs Ashwin rivalry, there has been another fascinating battle which has gone unnoticed – between the England captain and Axar Patel. Axar dismissed the modern great in both the innings of the second Test in Chennai getting the ball to turn away from the right-hander. Root fell to his favourite sweep shot in the first innings and received a peach of a delivery which took off from the surface in the second. If Motera offers fast turn then expect Axar to be on top of Root again. What will the England skipper do to counter Axar?