India take on Australia in the third Test of the Dettol Test series from Thursday, 7th January, at the Syndey Cricket Ground in the annual Pink Test.
After being bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the first Test, India made an epic comeback by claiming a comfortable 8-wicket win in the second Test at the MCG. The changes made to the team worked wonders and skipper Ajinkya Rahane shined with both the bat and as captain. His 112-run innings enabled India to take a sizeable lead after the first innings.
With the ball in hand, Ashwin continued his impressive form, and so did Jasprit Bumrah. Debutant Mohammed Siraj did remarkably well and with a lot of confidence. They will, however, be without Umesh Yadav, who was injured during the game. T Natarajan has taken his place in the squad.
Australia, meanwhile, will be ruing the indifferent form of their batsmen, especially No.1 ranked Test batsman Steve Smith. They are likely to be boosted by the return of David Warner and Will Pucovski, with Joe Burns set to be dropped from the team. The positive they will take from the MCG Test is a composed performance from young Cameron Green.
With the series level at 1-1, both teams will be desperate to take the lead going into the fourth Test, and we're likely to be in for another engrossing contest between bat and ball.
Date: January 7- 11, 2021 (Thursday- Monday)
Time: 05:00 AM (IST), 11:30 PM (GMT) (previous day), 10:30 AM (Local)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.
Showers are expected on the first two days of the match, and some stoppage of play could take place. The temperature should rise as the match goes on, with the average being 23 degrees Celsius.
The wicket at the SCG will be good for batting, with the ball expected to come on to the bat nicely. The spinners will certainly get some turn off the pitch, and the battle between Ashwin and Lyon will be one to watch. The seamers will get some movement off of the pitch, but it should reduce as the ball loses its shine.
David Warner is set to replace Joe Burns for Australia. Will Pucovski is also in line to make his debut. While Matthew Wade is the like-for-like replacement, his solid outing in the second Test could prompt Travis Head to be dropped, and Wade move down the order.
With Rohit Sharma set to return to the team, Mayank Agarwal's indifferent run of form should see him get dropped. Navdeep Saini should replace the injured Umesh Yadav, although T Natarajan could get a surprise Test debut.
Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Navdeep Saini/ T Natarajan.
While India put up a fine performance to level the series, Warner and Pucovski's return will bolster their batting lineup. Considering that Steve Smith will also look to play a big innings to atone for his bad outings in the first two Tests, Australia look the stronger side on paper, despite their recent loss. While India are certainly capable of getting another win, one would back the Aussies to win again on their home turf.
Prediction: Australia to win.
TV and live streaming details
TV: Sony Sports Network
Live Streaming: Sony LivPublished 04 Jan 2021, 01:02 IST