After being second-best on first five days of ongoing series against Australia, team India finally found their mojo in last two days and Bengaluru proved lucky for them.
India made a solid comeback in the series and are now looking favourites for the rest of the series. Just before the start of 3rd Test, Australia got a major setback as pace bowler Mitchell Starc is ruled out for the rest of the series cause of a broken foot.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane with their 93-run partnership were the stars of the last game for me; they both completely changed the game and brought India back into the series.
Other than the two mentioned above, KL Rahul with half-centuries in both innings also had a notable contribution. For Australia, Nathan Lyon picked up 8 wickets to decimate Indian batting in the first inning and then Josh Hazlewood did the same to restrict India under the lead 200, which still proved too much for Aussies. This is going to be Ranchi’s debut Test, a new pitch is awaiting everyone, though expectations are it is going to be typical sub-continent wicket.
In this article, we look at five players to look out for in the upcoming Test:
1- Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli as a batsman has been brilliant this season; as scoring four double ton is not an easy job but in the case of Virat Kohli, it looks easy. From West Indies to Bangladesh every team has suffered Indian skipper’s assault with the bat.
In last two Test matches, he looked a bit uncomfortable against Aussies, whatever he was doing has not worked so far. Twice he got out in the same fashion which was a bit embarrassing.
Virat Kohli never let scars get to him, nobody should doubt his capability to bounce back. Ranchi might be the game. He is a wounded tiger looking to bounce-back.
2- Ajinkya Rahane
Slowly but steadily he is getting back doing what he is best at – scoring runs. From the past 2-3 years, he is one of the batsmen, along with Virat Kohli, who has done well for India.
Ajinkya Rahane in his last 6 Test matches has got only 2 half-centuries against Bangladesh and one in the last innings. In between these 6 Test matches, he was injured for a while and was out from the squad. This is what made me say he slowly getting back to his best. In the last innings with Cheteshwar Pujara, he was involved in a series defining moment for India and led his team to the 75-run win over Kangaroos.
3- Murali Vijay
By far India’s most consistent opening batsman who was out of the second Test cause of injury is likely to be fit for Ranchi Test. Murali Vijay along with Virat Kohli has been brilliant this home season and scored 3-tons. Murali Vijay is now considered one of the most temperamentally strong batsman. Vijay’s control of his innings speaks a lot about his game. Ranchi will be his comeback game and I am expecting him to score some big runs.
4- Matt Renshaw
If anyone from Australian camp has impressed us with his talent and ability it has to be Matt Renshaw. In the four-match series Matt Renshaw has touched 50-run mark twice, but more importantly, he has shown the grit. Judging from his game, it seems like he is one batsman who knows the value of wicket. His technique against Indian spinners has earned him high praise from his competitor as well as from his own camp.
5- Josh Hazlewood
This Australian pace bowler picked up 6 wickets in the second innings of Bengaluru Test match. His style of bowling doesn’t really suit Indian conditions, though in the second inning with new ball he bagged 3 wickets in 2 overs.
Without Mitchell Starc, now Australia is heavily relying on him to provide an initial breakthrough. Josh Hazlewood must be thinking it as an opportunity in his hand rather than taking it as an extra pressure.