India v England
Saturday 26 November 03.30
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
India are sitting pretty with a 1-0 lead. But complacency is their greatest threat, so it is refreshing to see them drop the underperforming Wriddi Shaha for Parthiv Patel behind the stumps. It sends a message.
Ajinkya Rahane will be listening. Rahane averages just shy of 50 but he is on a lean run. India may not allow him time after this Test, chiefly because they don't want the batting line-up to be too reliant on Virat Kohli and Chet Pujara.
Kohli has been in sensational form and Chris Woakes, the England pacer, said they would be worried if they didn't get him out in the first 30 balls of his innings. That's some statement.
Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja will be expected to spin the hosts to victory. Umesh Yadav and Mo Shami, the pacers, are merely in the team to give them a rest.
Plenty of changes here. Stuart Broad and Zafar Ansari are out through injury. That means Woakes is certain to play while Gareth Batty is in pole to replace his Surrey team-mate.
Ben Duckett has also been axed with Jos Buttler making a return. Buttler will bat at No 5 and it appears he will be given licence to attack. Just as well as he is rusty in red-ball cricket. He faced just 24 balls for Lancashire last season.
Moeen Ali will bat at No 4. That is to be welcomed as he is, after all, a specialist batsman. Jonny Bairstow retains the gloves and bats at No 7.
The final decision is on Batty or a fourth seamer. But that shouldn't be the conundrum. This pitch will rag square so two spinners should be more than enough. Another seamer would be a waste. England should have picked the extra batter - they will need him.
Here are the last six first-innings scores (since 2006) at the Punjab CA Stadium: 201-408-428-453-469-300. You will spot the odd one out. India's 201 against South Africa this time last year was an outlier due to the change in wicket.
Formerly one for the seamers, it turned square from ball one with Dean Elgar (yes, really), taking four wickets. India went on to win by 108 runs.
If England bat first they will do mighty well to bust 300. India will probably be happy with the same.
India are 1.645/8, England 4.3100/30 and the draw is 6.05/1. This is a toss game, however, and we couldn't advise betting before we know who is batting first.
If ever there was a win-the-toss win-the-game pitch, it would appear to be this one. Look at Michael Vaughan's pitch report here. It is dry, crumbly and the cracks are almost big enough for a "mobile phone".
That makes it a 50/50 call in our book, meaning India are a terrible wager if they have to bat second. Conversely England are as good as beat if they have to bat second.
South Africa were rolled for 109 in the fourth innings last November. Only one of their 20 wickets to fall went to a pacer.
India have not lost at the venue since 1994. They have six wins and five draws since. But it's not a relevant stat. England have a great chance of levelling if they win the toss.
Top India runscorer
Murali Vijay top scored with 75 in that game in the first dig and the theory that openers might have more time to bed in and score before the spinners whirl away is a sound one. He is 6.05/1. Kohli will be all the rage at 4.94/1 - he averages mid 40s here. Pujara is 4.84/1.
Top England runscorer
Alastair Cook is 4.84/1 and Haseeb Hameed 7.26/1. Moeen is 9.08/1 which seems extreme considering he has shown he has good quality in these conditions. Root is 4.47/2 jolly.
Back side batting first
Moeen Ali top England runscorer at 9.08/1