The third Test between Australia and India will begin on Thursday (7th January) at Sydney Cricket Ground. Currently, this four-match Test series, which is also a part of inaugural ICC World Test Championship, is in level by the 1-1 margin.
This Test series began with the day/night pink-ball Test at Adelaide where the hosts Australia claimed 8-wicket victory. After that humiliating defeat, the visitors India made a superb comeback in the last game at Melbourne. That year-ending Test ended with India’s 8-wicket victory as the visitors dominated most of the time.
A victory in the Sydney Test will help the team to take the unassailable lead in this Test series. So, both teams will try their best to claim a crucial win in this upcoming Test.
Australia vs India, 3rd Test: Match Preview
In the last Test, the hosts Australia suffered their first home Test defeat since the beginning of 2019. Despite leading this series by 1-0, Tim Paine-led Australian team couldn’t handle the visiting team, who haven’t the full strength.
Australia have the big batting concern as Steven Smith is facing a dull run with the bat in Test cricket. In the four innings of this Test series, Smith scored 1, 1*, 0 and 8. Though Marnus Labuschagne is the most run-scorer for Australia in this Test series (129 runs in 4 innings), he has failed to convert his good starts to the big scores. In this Test series, he has scored 47, 6, 48 and 28.
While captain Tim Paine and Joe Burns scored half-centuries in the first Test, none of the Australian batsmen managed to score a fifty in the last Test.
Though Australian pacers have impressed in the first Test, they struggled to make continuous pressure in the Melbourne Test.
Opening batsman David Warner’s return will surely boost the Australian side but the Aussie batting have to improve quickly.
Latest full available squad
Tim Paine (C), Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Forms in the last 5 Tests (Oldest to latest): Won, Won, Won, Won and Lost
Despite the absence of skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and the right-arm pacer Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian team showed strong character in the last game to claim a 8-wicket series-levelling victory.
While Rohit Sharma is returning to the national side from the upcoming third Test, who will also play the vice captain role of the Test side, the right-arm fast bowler Umesh Yadav and KL Rahul have also ruled out from this Test series due to their respective injury.
So, the right-arm pacer Jasprit Bumrah and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will have to play bigger and crucial roles in the remaining Tests. While Mohammed Siraj already impressed on his Test debut in the last game, the team will now have better expectation from him. Also, Navdeep Saini is going to make Test debut as the team management has better faith on him.
Rohit Sharma is ready to replace the Test opener Mayank Agarwal. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill also impressed in the last game, which was also his first Test match.
As the Indian team is unsettled, maintaining consistency is the biggest challenge for this side. In batting, Cheteshwar Pujara and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane will have to take major responsibility.
Latest full available squad
Ajinkya Rahane (C), Rohit Sharma (vc), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Thangarasu Natarajan
Forms in the last 5 Tests (Oldest to latest): Won, Lost, Lost, Lost and Won
Australia vs India, 3rd Test: Match Prediction
The visiting side Indian team has got confident back after winning the previous Test at Melbourne. However, the Indian Test team is unsettled as some of their major players are missing. Though the Australian batsmen are struggling in this Test series, they are stronger than the visitors.
While Australia are favourite for the upcoming Test, the cricket world is expecting another fighting spirit from the visitors.