MCG in Melbourne will host the third Test of the four-match series between Australia and India. Though the series is levelled at 1-1, both the teams will like to take the lead in the third game. India, who had won the Adelaide Test faced some selection issues ahead of Perth game, resulting in losing the match. Now, ahead of the MCG Test, which begins on December 26th, India will likely be going with their best XI.
3rd Test, MCG – India’s Predicted Playing XI
The wait has to come to an end for Mayank Agarwal to play for India. He has been waiting in line for a while now, and with no Shaw around and the openers in terrible form, Mayank should debut at MCG. The right-hander has been in terrible form ever since, and his presence could bolster India’s batting in the third game.
Be ready to get surprised! Though there have been no reports of Rohit playing the MCG Test, let alone opening the innings, the scenario could well be possible. The current openers, Vijay and Rahul, have been out of touch entirely, and thus dropping them make sense. Moreover, with Shaw getting injured, and Pant doing relatively okay as a keeper, chances of Parthiv Patel playing at the top of the order look bleak. Thus, considering everything, Rohit could well open alongside Mayank Agarwal.
Off the few Indian players who perform consistently in Tests, Pujara stays on the list. After India’s number three scored a hundred in Adelaide, he, more or less cemented his place for Australia Tests. Though the challenging track in Perth saw Pujara failing to get going, he could well return in style for the MCG Test.
The India captain has been churning out runs at will. Though he didn’t start well in Adelaide, Kohli scored a brilliant hundred in Perth to silence his critics. Meanwhile, India would be desperately wanting him to score daddy runs in Melbourne as well, just to keep India in the game. Plus his captaincy would get also get tested knowing India has to come back to win Tests.
Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t been in the best of touches of late. Now, knowing he had hit a hundred at this venue the last time, he would be upbeat to perform better. However, India’s middle-order batsman found some runs under his belt; he failed to get going. At the MCG, Rahane will be hoping of turning the tables around.
Vihari was among the contributors in the Perth Test. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari kept himself busy with both bat and ball. Though he didn’t score plenty of runs, the off-spinner was successful in getting some crucial wickets in the game. Also, he didn’t do much wrong to see himself getting dropped for the third Test.
India’s wicketkeeper-batsman has been impressive with the gloves so far. Yes, he had dropped a few sitters, but he still hasn’t leaked too many runs through byes. Coming on the batting front, he hasn’t been convincing. However, with captain’s backing, Pant would get another chance to prove his credentials.
India’s best all-rounder in Tests, Ravi Ashwin is expected to return to the team for the third Test. Having done reasonably well with the ball in the Adelaide Test, Ashwin got injured ahead of the Perth game. Now, deemed fit for selection, the off-spinner will be keen to get going during the MCG Test.
The lanky fast bowler, Ishant Sharma will lead the pace attack in Melbourne. Having done enough damage early in the innings, Ishant would look to do the same at the MCG.
Known as the better second innings bowler, Mohammed Shami will also be on the lineup for the third Test. The fast bowler though has been a bit unlucky with dismissals; he had picked six wickets in the second innings of the Perth Test. At MCG, the Bengal bowler will look to do more damage to the Aussie batting lineup.
By distance India’s best bowler on tour so far, Jasprit Bumrah will share the new ball with Ishant at the top. Bumrah, however, has been very productive during his spells. He not only concedes fewer runs, but Bumrah also picks wickets at crucial junctures of the game as well.