Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, 3rd Test preview: Injury-hit India eyes Sydney glory
First Published Jan 6, 2021, 1:21 PM IST
India is locking horns with Australia in a four-Test series to defend its Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The series is currently locked at 1-1 after two Tests. India has three injury concerns, while Rohit Sharma's return would also bolster the squad further.
Team India would start from the scratch as it faces a monumental task to defend its Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) from Thursday. The series is currently locked at 1-1.
This Test would be significant for Team India, as a win here would ensure that it retains the title. However, with three injury concerns, it has a daunting task at hand, despite the return of senior opener, Rohit Sharma, as we present the match preview.
Current form: India has had mixed luck in the series, so far. Although it was off to a good start in the opening day-night Adelaide Test, it succumbed to an embarrassing loss in the second innings. Nonetheless, it bounced back strong in Melbourne, especially with the ball. As for Australia, it is their batting that needs to improve, while David Warner's return is likely to bolster it.
Team composition: As for the teams, India possesses a batting-heavy squad now. However, despite just nine bowlers in its arsenal, it is lethal enough to rattle the Aussie batting order, as was evident in both the Tests. As for Australia, it has a balanced side in all departments. However, with their batting being a concern, it could be possible that they can push in an extra batsman to consolidate it.
Injury concerns: As said earlier, India has three injury problems. Pacers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have been ruled out, with Jasprit Bumrah being only the prime pacer. Also, wicketkeeper-batsman, KL Rahul has suffered wrist sprain and misses out. Nonetheless, Rohit is back from his hamstring strain. As for Australia, it would welcome Warner back from his groin injury, while pacer James Pattinson has been ruled out due to bruised ribs.
Head-to-head: As for their head-on clashes so far, the sides have played 100 Tests, with Australia winning 43 and India winning 29. The sides have clashed on 50 occasions Down Under, with Australia leading by 30 wins and India has eight in its bag. Meanwhile, the sides have met on 12 instances at SCG, with Australia winning five and India winning just once.
Weather and pitch report: Considering the weather in Sydney, it is likely to be pleasant weather, with temperature likely to be around 23 degrees, with 60% humidity and slight rain chances. The pitch is expected to stay batting-friendly for the first three days, with spinners coming into effect on the final two days.
India (confirmed): Rohit Sharma (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj.
Australia: David Warner, Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood.
Batsmen: Labuschagne, Warner, Rahane (c), Rohit- Rohit and Warner are the best openers for this XI, while Labuschagne and Rahane can consolidate on the top and the middle. Rahane's glorious form makes him the captain of the side.
Wicketkeeper: Paine- He is the only one consistent enough to score, as Rishabh Pant's inconsistency forces him to miss out.
All-rounders: Ashwin, Jadeja- While Jadeja can be reliable in all departments, Ashwin can dominate with his spin, along with the former.
Bowlers: Cummins (vc), Lyon, Starc, Bumrah- Bumrah, along with Cummins and Starc, is sure to dominate with the pace, while Lyon can come in handy with his ever-reliable spin bowling. Cummins' consistency makes him the vice-captain.
Players to watch out
Smith: The former skipper has shocked all with his grey patch, especially being vulnerable to spin. Nonetheless, playing at his home turf is likely to give him an advantage, as the management would look up to him for a big knock.
Saini: He would certainly play a massive role in the pace department for India. He is likely to continue with the same momentum, coming off a decent Indian Premier League (IPL) and limited-overs against the side, despite Tests being a different ball game.
Warner: Australia dearly missed him in the opening two Tests, as the side would want him to give it a healthy start it has always needed. But, will it be that easy against this Indian bowling attack?
Rohit: Just like Warner, Rohit would aim to get India off to a strong start. What would be interesting to see if he possesses any rust.
Date and day: January 7, 2021 (Thursday)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Time: 5:00 AM IST
Where to watch (TV): Sony Six, Ten 1 and Ten 3 (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Sony LIV
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