Former England bowler Ryan Sidebottom says England ought to select both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson for their crucial Third Test against India in Ahmedabad starting on Wednesday.
The legendary seam pair have been rotated for the winter tour so far, with each playing twice in the four Tests played in Sri Lanka and India. The last time they were both selected for an England Test was in last summer’s third and final Test against Pakistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, with captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood keen to give the pair regular rest.
But Sidebottom has told Betfred that he would go with both for the vital day-night Test this week.
“With dew under lights, I would like to see your best two bowlers in Broad and Anderson operating,” he explained. “The big players on the big occasion, they come to the party when they’re needed.
“It would be nice to see those two and Jofra Archer, those three are the biggest threat with Ben Stokes as a fourth seamer. We’ll have to see what the team selection is going to be but I think England are still in a really good position and they’ll be chomping at the bit.”
The tourists will be looking to bounce back after India recorded a series-tying 317-run win in the Second Test in Chennai, and Sidebottom predicts that that result could mean a change in thinking at the top of the batting order with Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence potentially being replaced by Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley.
“That top order will set the tone for the team,” he added. “So with Jonny Bairstow, and Zak Crawley – who’s an outstanding young batsman as well – that will help England to go some way to winning this Test match, but it will probably be a trial by spin.
“I think that it will still be a spinners’ track, the wicket has had a tinge of green but I think they’ll shave all that off come Wednesday. The big key for me is that it’s a 2:30 start, and that last session is going to be crucial because of the dew. Will it be tough for the spinners to grip or will it just skid on and help the spinners? Will it seam around and swing a little bit under the lights? It’s anyone’s guess for both teams.”
One guarantee is that there will be a huge crowd in attendance for what is a critical fixture, and Sidebottom believes that could be great news for Root’s side.
“It’s going to be in front of 55,000, it’s great to see the crowds back as well. And that stadium is unbelievable, it’s absolutely stunning, so I think England will be looking forward to this game immensely.
“Whoever wins this Test will go and win the Test series, there are going to be no draws in this Test series, absolutely guaranteed, so whoever wins this Test will win the series 3-1.”
The Third Test gets underway at 0900 BST, with live coverage in the UK on Channel 4.