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India can cope with Kohli’s loss but ‘phenomenal’ England need Test runs

India face England in the third Test in Rajkot on Thursday with the five-match series level at 1-1.

India face England in the third Test on Thursday looking to restore some normality and authority to their five-game series but they will do so knowing that Virat Kohli is now available for the remainder of the matches.

England won the opening Test of the series by only 28 runs after amassing 420 runs in their second innings to overcome a deficit of 190 from the first.

The second Test produced another comeback from England but they eventually fell 106 runs short of their target, having conceded a first-innings deficit of 143.

Kohli was absent for both matches, due to personal reasons that have seen him miss a substantial number of India’s games this year, and has since announced he is unavailable for the duration of England’s tour.

India have also been hit by the news that KL Rahul will also miss the upcoming match in Rajkot, having also missed the second Test due to a thigh injury.

Former England bowler Angus Fraser was one of the selectors for the 2016 tour of India when Kohli ended as the leading run scorer with 655 runs as India claimed a 4-0 series win.

“It’s a big loss but they’ve coped without him in the first two matches,” Fraser told Al Jazeera.

“England have played remarkably well in the first two games, especially with the first-innings deficits, but they may well have lost both Tests had Kohli been there.

“He may well have been the figure that scored the extra runs to win the first Test match, too.

“India are the favourites and the stronger side even in his absence because there are enough players and runs around to put England under pressure.”