After a humiliating defeat in the second Test, Australia will be desperate to win the third Test against India, which is scheduled to begin on January 7. This thrilling encounter will be hosted by Sydney, which has currently witnessed the outbreak of the new strain of the coronavirus.
Currently, the series is levelled with Australia winning the opening match of the four-match series. They handed over a moral-destroying defeat to India as the visitors registered the lowest-ever Test total i.e, 36. It was said that the defeat would lead to clean sweep by the Australian team.
But Team India, under the guidance of stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, bounced back stronger to astonish Australians. They comfortably went on to win the second Test match by eight wickets. The win has balanced the series and the third Test will be crucial for both the teams to gain the lead.
Here, let’s take a look at Australia’s Predicted XI:
Australian team management in the recent interviews has made clear that David Warner will open for them in the third Test even though he is not fully fit.
The left-hand batsman had missed the first two Test matches because of a groin injury which he surfaced during the second ODI.
Will Pucovski was dropped from the first two Test matches after suffering the ninth concussion during the warm-up games. But he has returned in the squad for the Third Test while Joe Burns has been dropped in his place. He is likely to open the innings for Australia with Warner if he passes all the fitness tests ahead of the third Test.
Marnus Labuschagne, who has copied the mannerism of Steve Smith, was the leading scorer for Australia in the past two Test matches. But he had failed to convert his knock to the big one, being two times out when he was close to fifty.
To have the upper hand in the game, Labuschange needs to set himself to play a big knock.
Australia’s batting mainstay Steve Smith had poor outings in the two Tests. In the first Test, Ravichandran Ashwin troubled him and get better of him. After consuming 29 balls, he scored just one run before the leggie sent back him. In the second Test as well, Ashwin got his wicket in the first innings for a duck.
Smith’s confidence will be undoubtedly at rock bottom. But he has the experience of playing 75 Tests and coming back into form is not a big thing for him.
Matthew Wade opened the innings with Joe Burns in David Warner’s absence in the last two Tests. He showcased an aggressive brand of cricket. But with the return of the two opening batsman, Wade will also return to his original position is in the middle order.
But to make a place for him, Travis Head, who hasn’t been impressive in Sydney and MCG, will have to be dropped from the playing XI.
Tim Paine (c & wk):
Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine scored a crucial half-century in the first innings of the first Test which decreased the lead of the Indian team. But he was disappointed in the second Test in MCG in which he was also given a controversial out.
Being the captain, Paine has the responsibility to play a match-winning knock in Sydney to take the team to the lead.
The all-rounder Cameron Green had higher expectations after he played a mature knock in the second innings of the second Test. He scored 45 runs to build up a lead and avoid an inning defeat for Australia.
Apart from batting, he is a useful bowling option. He had bowled in the two Tests but hasn’t picked a wicket.
Australia’s bowling machine Pat Cummins had exposed Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal’s flaw which had led to the dropping of both the Indian teams from the playing XI. He had registered a four-wicket haul in the second innings of the first Test match.
Nathan Lyon is now more close to entering the elite list of bowlers having 400 Test wickets in their name. The leg-spinner had picked three wickets in the two Test matches and is in need of six more wickets to achieve the milestone.
In the two matches, the left-arm pacer has got eight wickets, including one four-wicket haul, in his name. Mitchell Starc will have to yield a top-notch performance in the third Test to dismantle India’s top-order, which has a weak middle-order.
In the first opening Test victory, Josh Hazlewood also achieved a personal milestone. He became the eighth Australian bowler to have 200 Test wickets in his name. But in the second Test which was in MCG, he hadn’t been at his best as he notched only one wicket.