The third test gets underway in Sydney tomorrow. There are chances of rain playing spoilsport on the first two days with a 56% and 53% probability of rain on Thursday and Friday, according to weather website accuweather.com. The rest of the three days remain clear.
In case the toss does happen and we have play then it is going to be a crucial toss with the team batting second having an advantage in the first innings. If the scoreboard does pile up, then the third innings will see deteriorating pitch conditions, depending on the first two days.
This crisps up the clash even more as there has been lots of off ground news which the Australian media has churned up about the indian team. Earlier in the week, there were allegations that five member of the team had not followed the bio bubble regulations adn there were chances that they may be asked to rest out one test. The news turned to be false, categorically denied by the team management.
Meanwhile the Indian team has been announced with two changes. As expected, Rohit Sharma comes in for an out of sorts Mayank Agarwal and Navdeep Saini gets to play his debut match in test cricket for india. Saini replaces Umesh yadav who suffered a calf injury in the Melbourne test and was unable to bowl for major part of the game. Rest of the team remains same with Gill completing the opening combination, Pujara and Rahane to follow. Hanuma Vihari gets another chance to redeem himself with Pant, Jadeja and Ashwin bringing up the rear. Bumrah leads the bowling attack with two newbees in Siraj and Saini.
For the Aussies, Warner should make the cut even if not fully fit as has been clearly expressed by Tim Paine. Along with him Puckovski is also available for selection as he has recovered from the concussion suffered.
Rohit sharma had a wonderful 2019 as a test opener where he found his mojo. He played 6 innings as an opener, scored 556 runs with 3 centuries which includes a double ton as well, at an staggering average of 92.67 ! India will hope that Sharma is able to find his striking ability from the word go. India’s batting and bowling both look sorted for now. With the weather playing truant, both the teams would be hoping for the rub of the green to go there way.
As for the venue, Australia and India have played many memorable Tests at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The teams have played 12 Tests at the SCG with Australia winning five of them and India winning one.
It was at this venue that India had won the Border-Gavaskar series on their last tour in 2018-19 as the Sydney Test was drawn and India hung on to their 2-1 lead in the series. Returning to the venue in 2021, India have everything on the line in a series that’s level 1-1 and the visitors hit by injuries to their premier fast bowlers. However, against an Australian batting line-up that has sold itself short so far, even an inexperienced bowling attack, led by boom boom Bumrah and the wily Ashwin, could hold its own.