Cricket-India tempted to play Ashwin in Headingley test v England

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Third Test - India Nets
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LEEDS, England (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli said that he didn't want to break up a winning team but is tempted by the look of the Headingley pitch to play off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the third test against England starting on Wednesday.

Recognising the limited role of a spinner in a seam-dominated series, India picked all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ashwin, currently the second-ranked test bowler, in the first two matches.

Jadeja, a left-arm spinner, is yet to pick up a wicket but contributed a couple of useful cameos with the bat to help India go 1-0 up by winning the second match at Lord's.

"As far as Ashwin's playing is concerned, we're quite surprised to see the pitch," Kohli told a virtual news conference on Tuesday.

"I thought there'll be more grass on the pitch and it'll be more spicy and lively, but it wasn't the case. So, yeah, anything is possible.

"We always name our 12 and then on the day, we have a look at the pitch and what it could become on day three, day four and accordingly we will go in with the right combination."

Kohli said barring injuries in the playing XI, he always preferred retaining a winning team.

"You don't want to disturb or interrupt a winning combination, especially when the team has achieved such an incredible win in the second test and are even more excited to take the field again."

The India captain was particularly pleased with the opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who gave their team strong starts in both the matches.

"We hope that they continue in the same manner because the opening partnership in overseas conditions is so crucial to set up the right platform, from where the team can build on," he said.

"That's something they provided us in both the tests and hence we were in a winning position in the first game, and we ended up winning the second game after being put in."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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