England Lions hammer India A in one-off unofficial Test

Prithvi Shaw

India will play the first match on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham, which will be followed by the second one at Lord's on August 9.

Rishabh Pant has been included as the second wicket-keeper in an 18-man India squad for the first three Tests of the five-match series against England after regular starter Wriddhiman Saha failed to recover from a left thumb injury.

DNA has reliably learnt that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to seek a report from the team management over the inclusion of Bhuvneshwar, despite the latter is said to have let them know of his injury on the eve of the final ODI.In fact, it has also been learnt that BCCI secretary and convenor of the selection meeting Amitabh Choudhary also asked "why the pacer was made to play when he was not fit?"

Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggravated a lower-back condition in the third One-day global against England at Headingley on Tuesday and was missing from the squad.

The selectors didn't consider Rohit Sharma's two limited-overs centuries on the tour enough reason to hand him a Test comeback, with India A captain Karun Nair continuing to hold the spot of the extra middle-order batsman.

Sam Curran became the youngest bowler to take five wickets in an innings for England in an A Test, and ended with match figures of seven for 60.

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India "A" had beaten West Indies "A" in the preceding two-match series but playing England Lions in their own den turned out to be an eye-opener for the Rahul Dravid-coached side. The early assessment is not very optimistic according to sources. Uncapped Shardul Thakur retains his place in the Test squad.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who was unfit for the ODI series, will be available for selection from the second Test onwards, the statement added.

Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has also been included alongwith Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

During the One-Day International (ODI) series, Virat Kohli had spoken of "a few surprises" in the Test team, suggesting that India might "be tempted" to include both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep. The choice was between going back to Parthiv Patel and looking to the future.

Pant averages 54.16 in first-class cricket with a strike rate of 98.54, which has led observers to wonder if he could play an Adam Gilchrist-like role in India's Test side. Till previous year, he was considered as the one who could replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the limited-overs format when he decides to call it quits.

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