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IND v ENG: If the pitch stays green, there's every chance two seamers will play: Olie Pope

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IND v ENG: If the pitch stays green, there's every chance two seamers will play: Olie Pope

Rajkot, Feb 13 (IANS) England Vice-captain Ollie Pope, has revealed the possibility of bolstering their pace attack with an extra seamer as England prepare for the pivotal third Test against India starting on Thursday at Rajkot.

With the series delicately balanced at 1-1, every decision holds the weight of destiny. The Rajkot pitch, adorned with a verdant carpet, whispered secrets of a contest tilted towards seam mastery.

Mark Wood with his left leg strapped but determined unyielding, epitomized England’s resolve as he honed his skills in the nets. Ollie Robinson, with sweat glistening like pearls of determination on his brow, stood ready as another option in the quest for victory.

On Tuesday, two days before the third Test begins on Thursday, the Rajkot pitch had a covering of green grass. “If it stays like that, there’s every chance two seamers will be played,” batter Pope told BBC Sport.

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“I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but at the minute there’s a little bit more grass on it. It looks like a pretty good pitch. We always like to make a decision here the day before the Test begins because conditions can change, especially with the heat on it all day.”

England captain Ben Stokes will play his 100th Test in Rajkot, 11 years after making his debut against Australia in Adelaide. Stokes, 32, will become the 16th England man to reach the milestone, the latest landmark in a storied career.

Ollie Pope, spoke with reverence, a disciple honoring his mentor. “What a legend of the game,” said Pope. “There are so many great memories from his career. It’s a credit to him. What he has put his body through – he gives 110% to every Test he plays and plays everyone like it is his last. You never know what you are going to get.

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“He can do ridiculous things in the field, with the bat and with the ball. Long may that continue over the next few years.”

India remain without Virat Kohli, who will miss the rest of the series for personal reasons, while batter K.L Rahul is still injured. Uncapped pair Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel are likely to debut in the middle order.

–IANS

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