Australia stemmed the downward spiral brilliantly to come back strongly at the buoyed Indians, winning the Perth test and levelling the ongoing series one all. The Australian performance was clinical with batsmen putting up decent totals and bowlers taking 20 wickets to bring India down on knees in a lopsided contest. Now that the self-belief is renewed, the hosts look menacing while the visitors are left to fend for themselves in wake of form and selection issues.
The third test, scheduled at Melbourne from December 26 to 30, is generating interest because a win here will take the winner a step closer to the coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy and hedge against the series loss. With so much at stake, both teams will put their best foot forward to get the measure of the opposition, guarantying a close contest. However, if the 2nd test is something to go by, Australia has the edge and will enter the Melbourne test as the favourite.
|Match||Australia vs India, 3rd Test|
|Match number||Test no. 2237|
|Time||11:30 PM GMT (Dec 26) / 10:30 AM LOCAL|
|Venue||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Match days||26,27,28,29,30 December 2018 (5-day match)|
|Series||India tour of Australia 2018/19|
|TV Umpires||Richard Kettleborough|
|Reserve Umpire||Paul Wilson|
|Match Referee||Andy Pycroft|
Here are the squads for the match:
India cricket Team
V Kohli (c), AM Rahane, MA Agarwal, R Ashwin, JJ Bumrah, RA Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami, HH Pandya, RR Pant †, PA Patel †, CA Pujara, KL Rahul, I Sharma, RG Sharma, GH Vihari, M Vijay, UT Yadav
Australia Cricket Team
TD Paine (c) †, PJ Cummins, AJ Finch, PSP Handscomb, MS Harris, JR Hazlewood, TM Head, UT Khawaja, NM Lyon, MR Marsh, SE Marsh, PM Siddle, MA Starc, CP Tremain
Although the batting issues are profound with Smith and Warner serving a ban, the hosts have worked on their batting, which was evident in the way they denied Indian bowlers crucial wickets. Skipper Tim Paine would love to see his top order among runs yet again, providing a sound platform for middle and lower order batsmen to prosper. Tim Paine, Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja are expected to do the bulk of scoring while Aaron Finch cannot be discounted for his sheer skills and experience. He is due for runs and Melbourne may be his redemption.
Bowlers have done it for the Aussies, especially the right arm off-spinner Nathan Lyon who dismissed Kohli and Murali in quick succession to put Indian on the back foot. Pat Cummins, Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc also bowled well on a hard bouncy track at Perth. India, on the other hand, is struggling with the form of the top order that has failed consistently to stitch good partnerships and see off the new ball. Kohli, Pujara and Rahane are the only batsmen that looked good against both pace and spin and contributed to the team’s cause.
Indian batsmen are lacking application, which is visible in the manner they got out in both innings. They have to sort out their technique issues and play positive cricket to make an impact in the upcoming contest. The only relief for the management is the form of pacers who bowled their heart out to keep the team’s hopes alive. As apparent as it is, Australia looks the favourite for the Melbourne test but India has the meat to bounce back.