With the DRS-gate behind them and the series being tied at 1-1, the third Test between India vs Australia is expected to be another well fought tensed game. The match to be played at Ranchi could well decide the fate of the series.
After a terrific comeback in Bengaluru, India will be high on confidence as the momentum rests with them. India’s opening woes have been going on for the last few matches and they will be hoping Murali Vijay’s return could change that.
Abhinav Mukund who opened in the last Test, will surely be replaced by Vijay. India will be hoping for a better batting performance from their side especially from the middle and lower order which has struggled this series.
One of main reasons for India’s comeback in the last Test was Australia’s poor fielding something which marred the hosts in the first Test. Pujara has been very consistent this season and his crucial innings in the last game was probably the difference between the two sides.
Rahane’s return to form will please the team management as the middle-order has looked brittle whenever Virat Kohli has not performed. The Indian skipper will hope to make amends in Ranchi as a big one from him seems to be just around the corner.
Ashwin and Jadeja have been brilliant and so has been Umesh Yadav. There has been a lot of discussion over the pitch at Ranchi which is expected to hold well for 5 days. India’s two seamers and two spinners combination seems to be the likely route for them in the third match as well.
Player To Watch Out For:
It is not often that you see Virat Kohli struggling for runs, but that is exactly what has happened this series. With the DRS controversy heating things up a bit, expect Kohli to give a reply with his bat as well. The skipper’s aggressive batting display could get India 2-1 lead in the series.
Probable XI: 1. KL Rahul, 2. M Vijay, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (capt), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Karun Nair 7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8. R Ashwin, 9. Ravindra Jadeja, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Umesh Yadav.
Apart from having a controversy-ridden week, Australia received a scathing blow as their strike bowler Mitchell Starc returned home with an injury. They have called the young injury-prone seamer Pat Cummins to the side, who might make his Test return after 5 years.
The 23-year-old who debuted against South Africa in 2011, had received the Man Of The Match honours in the Test. Another headache for the visitors is to find a replacement in the XI for Mitchell Marsh who has also returned home with injury.
Marcus Stoinis has been called up to the squad and he could make it straight to the XI with their seaming options being slightly depleted due to Starc’s exit. Glenn Maxwell who was in the original touring party for the Australians, could also stake a claim for the all-rounder’s spot in the XI.
The visitors could surprise India by picking up Ashton Agar in the team, although that seems like an unlikely scenario. The rest of the side seems to be quite settled at the moment even though Jackson Bird will consider himself unlucky if Cummins plays ahead of him.
Warner is yet to find form and just one innings from him could turn the series upside down. Handscomb has shown promise but hasn’t been able to kick off. Renshaw along with Smith have been the most impressive batsmen for Australia and the visitors will be hoping that the duo do well in the all-important third Test in Ranchi.
Player To Watch Out For:
David Warner hasn’t kicked off yet this series, and a big one from his expected in Ranchi. The left-hander has been bamboozled by R Ashwin in all the four innings, but his aggressive batting style could be his saviour on the turning Indian pitches.
Probable XI: 1. David Warner, 2. Matt Renshaw, 3. Steven Smith (capt), 4. Shaun Marsh, 5. Peter Handscomb, 6. Marcus Stoinis/Glenn Maxwell/Ashton Agar, 7. Matthew Wade (wk), 8. Pat Cummins/Jackson Bird, 9. Steve O’Keefe, 10. Nathan Lyon, 11. Josh Hazlewood.