As the calendar dates unfurl, the heartbeat count starts rising for the cricket fans. Yes, that’s how close Border-Gavaskar trophy is to people’s heart. The essence gets all the-more fuming when India are playing the series in the Australian continent.
India is currently on tour to Australia where it has had a complete buffet of cricket ranging from ODI’s to T20’s and finally the Test matches. While Australia rose to glory 2-1 in the ODI’s, India reversed the figures when it came to the T20’s. India did 2-1 to win the T20 series, much like Australia did in ODI’s.
Following the white-ball formats, the fans are witnessing the gripping Test matches. Now that we stand exactly in the middle of the four test match series, the series has grabbed all the more interest. Also, the fact that the series score is now levelled 1-1, the hunger to win the third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is heightened.
With wounded scar-36 runs in Adelaide, the least ever total by the Indian batsmen; the team pounced upon Aussies ferociously in the second test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where India came winning in flying colours.
The cold revenge tasted best as the Indians won the second test by eight wickets, the same figure by which Australia won the first test.
As we stand on the cusp ahead of the third test at Sydney, let’s revisit test matches of Sydney from Border-Gavaskar series from the previous decade.
Year 2011-12: 2nd Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, Jan 3-6, 2012, Australia won by an innings and 68 runs (Ind 191 and 400; Aus 659/4d)
Year 2014-15: 4th Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, Jan 6-10, 2015 – Match drawn (Aus 572/7d and 251/6d; Ind 475 and 252/7)
Year 2018-19: 4th Test at Sydney Cricket Ground – Jan. 3-7, 2019; Match drawn (Ind 622/7d; Aus 300 and 6/0 (f/o))
Year 2020-21: 3rd Test at Sydney Cricket Ground- Jan 7-11, 2021
Let’s hog some light on what India have ahead of the third Test match in Sydney.
Openers: The swashbuckling batsman Rohit Sharma is back in the India squad. The senior player is known to be terrific against Australia and especially in Australia. His presence can get India off to a fantastic opening start, unlike the first two test matches. Besides, the dashing young player-Shubman Gill’s confidence is no less. Opening with the experienced Rohit Sharma, Gill has the potential to lend some fine innings.
Middle Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, the steel for India in the test match magic, is still to come with his willow magic. He is still to foray into his previous Border-Gavaskar trophy’s edition form because he comes at the most significant position-number three batsmen.
In fact, Hanuman Vihari also has unable to justify his position with the bat. Clearly, their sore shoulders are struggling, unlike the other players, who have been into constant cricket during IPL and white ball Australia series thereafter.
However, the standing captain, Ajinkya Rahane, who played a match-winning and defining innings, has a lot to put forth in the upcoming test matches.
Wicketkeeper and all-rounder: The young Rishabh Pant looked more promising than Wriddhiman Saha. We can expect better performance with his bat in the upcoming test. As far as an all-rounder is concerned, it will be unwise even to doubt Ravindra Jadeja’s contribution. His bowling wrist and batting stroke has worked well and can work in the left matches.
Bowlers: Truly, IPL 2020 came as a blessing in disguise for T Natrajan, following which he made a debut in T20, ODI, and is likely to make in the third Test against Australia. Natrajan and the pace battery comprising Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj can be deadly in scalping Aussies wickets. Besides, the senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can be a boon in the remaining series. He can be relied upon for he has deceived Australia’s most promising batsmen in the initial matches.
All in all, India has a versatile blend of performers with adequate confidence, more of which has been aggregated following the spectacular win at MCG. There is no doubt that India can lift the third Test match, Border-Gavaskar trophy infact, and that too with David Warner and Steve Smith playing for the Australian squad.