Gautam Gambhir India
Gautam Gambhir is expected to replace Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order for the third Test match between India and New ZealandIANS

Gautam Gambhir will play his first Test match in more than two years, while Virat Kohli will have to make at least one more enforced change as India look to whitewash New Zealand with a victory in the third Test match in Indore. India have already clinched the series 2-0.

Shikhar Dhawan was preferred to Gambhir for the second Test, after KL Rahul was ruled out, and with the curse of the openers refusing to relent, the veteran left-hander has been given another opportunity to make an impression after Dhawan suffered a minor thumb fracture.

With Dhawan out of the Test match, Gambhir will partner Murali Vijay at the top of the order, although Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble also had the choice of giving Karun Nair a Test match debut.

Nair was called-up as a replacement for the injured Dhawan, and while the Karnataka batsman is not an opener, India could have pushed Cheteshwar Pujara up the order and played the former in the middle order.

With the series already done, it would make sense for India to bed-in someone new, just to see how they respond to Test match cricket, and Nair has certainly earned a place in the squad. However, with a long winter of Test match cricket ahead, Kohli would have also been mindful of giving Gambhir a game, in case the opener injury curse persists throughout the long season.

Gambhir showed great enthusiasm while fielding as a substitute in the second match and Kohli confirmed the 34-year-old will play in the third Test.

The other forced change that India will need to make is in the bowling, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar saw his series end due to back strain. Shardul Thakur has been brought in as back-up, but Umesh Yadav looks favourite to return to the playing XI.

Sanjay Bangar, the India batting coach, felt the wicket at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, even with plenty of rain around, is not one that is likely to help the fast bowlers, so India might even consider playing three spinners. But, Kohli is not someone who is comfortable playing just one fast bowler, and with India likely to stick with six batsmen, it does look like the only bowling change will be a straight swap for the injured Bhuvneshwar with Umesh coming in.

Amit Mishra will hope against hope he gets an opportunity, but with Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin rested for the first three ODI matches against New Zealand, the spin twins are unlikely to be given a breather.

Kane Williamson New Zealand India Saha Rohit
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson should recover in time for the third Test match against IndiaIANS

New Zealand are confident their captain Kane Williamson will recover from illness in time to play this third Test match. Williamson missed the Kolkata Test after falling ill, but he seems on course for a return, with Henry Nicholls expected to make way.

"It's looking positive," New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen said on Thursday. "Final confirmation on that will probably be (on Friday). We trained, and he did some batting and had a decent hit and a run around. We'll have another look at him (on Friday), but it looks positive."

Jimmy Neesham is also thought to be fit enough to play. With the wicket likely to aid the spinners more, Ish Sodhi has a chance, even if a slight one, considering Matt Henry, Neil Wagner and Trent Boult have bowled really well, while Jeetan Patel is expected to keep his place in the team.

Confirmed playing XI: India: Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Jimmy Neesham, Matt Henry, Jeetan Patel, Trent Boult.

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