|Finished.338 & 312/6d - 244 & 334/5|
By leading his team to victory in the second Test of this iteration of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t just gone a long way towards cementing his own position as captain of the Indian Test side, but also taken India one step closer to taking back the lead of both the ICC Test rankings and the World Test Championship table. The team from the subcontinent is now tied 1-1 with Australia in the series, and it’s anybody’s game. With several players out due to injury or other concerns, the two teams will nevertheless be at each other’s throats to take the lead. Before the action starts on the field, let’s take a look at the two sides.
Australia Predicted XI, Preview, Form, and Key players for this match
AUS Predicted XI: Tim Paine (c/wk), Travis Head, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
It’s never easy to run a relatively understrength side, but to be fair, so are Australia’s opponents. Losing a home Test is always painful, but bouncing back from that loss is imperative for Tim Paine’s side right now, so they’ll be hoping that Steven Smith finds his form back. In that fateful Test, Australia chose to bat first. Although some of them got off to decent starts, they couldn’t quite expand their innings, with Marnus Labuschagne getting 48, Travis Head 38, and Matthew Wade 30. It wasn’t long before the team crumbled for a lowly 195. When India came in to bat, Australia’s bowling wasn’t as effective. Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon did their best to pick up 3 each, but it wasn’t enough to prevent India from getting a solid 131 run lead.
The second innings for Australia wasn’t much better, as Cameron Green’s 45 and Matthew Wade’s 40 were the only notable scores and the team could only muster 200. Starc and Cummins struck early enough, but 69 was never a nice enough target to defend, and the Aussies lost by 8 wickets.
AUS Key players
David Warner: Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed if he’ll play or not, David Warner is a fantastic player in any format, and will be invaluable to the Aussies if he plays.
Marnus Labuschagne: He hasn’t had the best of series, but Marnus Labuschagne’s skills are more than good enough to change that any time.
Mitchell Starc: Starc’s trademark speed and swing will be troublesome for India’s batsmen the way it always has been.
Nathan Lyon: As the SCG is great for spin bowlers, Lyon will be at the center of the action with his wizardry.
India Predicted XI, Preview, Form, and Key players for this match
India Predicted XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Thangarasu Natarajan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj.
With KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav out of the tournament alongside Mohammed Shami, India’s squad depth dwindles further. However, some key players are still there, and as long as they perform, the Indians still have the ability to win it. In the last match, Jasprit Bumrah’s 4-for and Ravichandran Ashwin’s 3 played the biggest part in getting the home side bowled out for a low total. Shubman Gill then had a decent start to his debut match, but it was Ajinkya Rahane who played the most important role with a solid 112. Ravindra Jadeja also played well for his 57, and India finished their first innings on a decent 326.
India’s second time with the ball was just as good, with Mohammed Siraj starring with 3, and Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja taking 2 each. Soon, India had the Aussies booked for just 200, which was made short work of by Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane for an 8-wicket win.
IND Key players
Ajinkya Rahane: Needless to say, Rahane’s incredible contribution in the last match has left everyone wanting more, and he will deliver, we daresay.
Shubman Gill: The young IPL star had a good start to his Test career, and it can be hoped that he continues that way.
Ravindra Jadeja: With the Sydney pitch being how it is, Jadeja should love both batting and bowling on it.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Once again, the spin-favouring pitch will be awesome for Ashwin to take advantage of.
Australia vs India weather and pitch conditions
The first day might be interrupted by rain, as there will be the ominous threat of that throughout with heavy cloud cover. It will also be somewhat humid, but the wind and cool temperatures should soothe the players. The next two days will see similar conditions, but with less clouds, before a sunny fourth day and warmer but pleasant fifth.
Traditionally a great batting pitch, the SCG also holds quite a bit of juice for spinners. The first couple of days will be great for batting and decent for fast bowlers with plenty of speed and bounce in the pitch, but as the match progresses, the pitch should go increasingly in the favour of the spinners, so batting first is a good idea.
Can Australia use their home advantage to quell a resurgent India? Or will the visitors manage to outplay their hosts? Find out if our Australia vs India 3rd test prediction come true starting Thursday!
|AUS Top Batsman:|
|IND Top Batsman:|
|AUS Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|IND Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|M Labuschagne/T Paine/D Warner (AUS), S Gill/R Jadeja/A Rahane (IND)|
|Players to score a century:|
|M Labuschagne/D Warner (AUS), S Gill/A Rahane (IND)|