India will aim to complete a clean sweep and conclude their Australia tour on a positive note by winning the third Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Sunday.
India have already clinched the three-match series, having won the first two matches in Adelaide and Melbourne by 37 and 27 runs respectively. A win on Sunday will help the visitors get over the 1-4 thrashing in the One-Day International (ODI) series.
The Indians will once again depend on a strong batting line-up which has done well in the previous two matches. Rohit Sharma has taken his superb form from the ODI series into the 20-over format while his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has found his touch after struggling with his form since the Test and one-day series against South Africa at home.
Virat Kohli has been excellent at the number three position, scoring a whirlwind half-century in the second T20I and will be hoping to carry on in the same vein in the third match as well.
The veteran Yuvraj Singh is yet to get a game in this series and the talented left-hander will be eager to get a chance to get into the groove as the Indians gear up for the World T20 tournament which they host in March-April this year.
Some of the Indian youngsters have done well with medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah being the find of the tour. The 22-year-old from Ahmedabad had a sensational debut, producing figures of 3/23 to be the most successful bowler in the first T20I at Adelaide. He followed it up with another couple of wickets in the third game at Melbourne and is currently the highest wicket-taking bowler in the series.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja has also put in an excellent performance, playing a crucial role in the win at Melbourne by capturing the wickets of Shane Watson and James Faulkner and taking care of the dangerous Aaron Finch with a nice bit of fielding.
The Australians, on the other hand, will aim to salvage some pride by staving off a complete Indian sweep. They will miss their in-form captain Finch who is down with an injury to his left hamstring. They will be led by experienced all-rounder Shane Watson.
The 34-year-old Watson is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is with 41 victims and his tally of 1,191 runs is second only to hard-hitting opener David Warner’s haul of 1,465.
The hosts will continue to miss the services of their head coach Darren Lehmann, who has been sidelined since being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis on January 23. The former left-handed batsman missed the fifth and final ODI with India as well as the whole of the T20I series. Michael di Venuto will continue to serve as his replacement.
A win in the third T20I will also boost the Australians’ morale ahead of the upcoming tour of New Zealand where they will play three ODIs and two Test matches.
But the hosts will field a weakened line-up for Sunday’s game as they have sent several players to New Zealand to prepare for the ODI series that starts there on Wednesday. That means they will miss the likes of Steven Smith, John Hastings, Kane Richardson and Matthew Wade.
There are concerns over the form of some of the available players as well. Top order batsman Chris Lynn has struggled against spin, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon had a forgettable T20I debut at Melbourne, conceding 15 runs in the only over he bowled. Fast bowler Shaun Tait also endured an unhappy comeback, giving away 45 runs in four wicketless overs in the first match — his least economical T20I till date.