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    Stokes' 100th Test against India series on knife-edge
Stokes' 100th Test against India series on knife-edge
Ben Stokes via X (ex-Twitter)

Stokes' 100th Test against India series on knife-edge

Ben Stokes will earn his 100th Test cap when he leads England against India in the third Test starting in Rajkot on Thursday. Both sides will be without key players.

The five-match series is currently level at 1-1. India won the second Test in Visakhapatnam by 106 runs and England won the third in Hyderabad by 28 runs.

India will be without batsmen Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, while England's senior spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the final three matches due to a knee injury sustained in the first Test.

After England's victory in the series opener in Hyderabad, Stokes, 32 years old, was praised for his leadership. In Visakhapatnam, England aggressively chased 399 but fell short.

England have won 14 out of 20 Tests since Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum adopted an attacking style, but former Australia captain Ian Chappell believes the term 'Bazball' is overplayed.

Chappell was quoted on Cricinfo as saying, 'Much of England's success has been attributed to 'Bazball' - the desire to score quickly and tactically rattle the opposition - but this is a misnomer.'

Stokes aimed to achieve victory from ball one by playing aggressive cricket in all aspects of the game added the speaker.

Stokes, an all-rounder who is currently playing as a batsman after recovering from knee surgery, has scored 6,251 runs and taken 197 wickets since his Test debut in 2013.

Batsman Ollie Pope, who scored a match-winning 196 in the first Test, added at a press conference on Tuesday that to play 100 Tests is an incredible achievement.

Since Stokes became captain, he has done amazing things. He has been a game changer in every aspect of the game.

India will be without their batting great Kohli, who will miss the rest of the series due to personal reasons, after having already missed the first two Tests.

Batsman Rahul will miss out again as he has not fully recovered from his injury. However, he was named in the squad and is expected to be fit for the rest of the series after Rajkot.

Indian left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav said that there is a chance for the newcomers to seize the opportunity.

England has performed well in domestic cricket and it's their time to showcase their skills. He also mentioned that he did not anticipate a rank turner for the Rajkot game.

After the second Test, the England squad travelled to Abu Dhabi for some rest and to spend time with their families. However, they have already returned to training in Rajkot.

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