India and Australia will face off in the crucial 3rd Test in Sydney starting on Thursday. The game at the Sydney Cricket Ground comes with the four-match series tied 1-1, making it a must-win for both teams. While India will be looking to carry on from their brilliant performance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia will hope to regain their mojo that helped them win the series-opener in Adelaide. Team selection, however, will be the biggest concern for both teams going into the SCG clash.
The hosts have dropped under-performing opener Joe Burns, while David Warner has made it back into the squad. Coach Justin Langer said that Warner is “very, very, very likely” to play in Sydney, while youngster Will Pucovski has been given the all-clear from concussion and may step out with Warner in a new-look opening partnership for Australia.
Matthew Wade is set to move back down to the middle order, with Travis Head making way for Pucovski in the playing XI.
For India, while the return of Rohit Sharma – who has been named vice-captain of the team for the remaining two matches – is a huge boost, injuries picked up by Mohammed Shami in the first Test and Umesh Yadav in the second poses a problem.
While Siraj did well in Shami’s place in Melbourne, the visitors will have to choose between Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan as their third pacer, with Jasprit Bumrah the only experienced fast bowler in their attack.
Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane and coach Ravi Shastri will hope that Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin can lead the bowling attack against what has been an unsettled Australian batting line-up.
India also lost KL Rahul to a wrist sprain and the batsman has been ruled out of the series.
Rohit Sharma is likely to replace Mayank Agarwal and open alongside Shubman Gill, who made an impressive debut in Melbourne. Agarwal has failed to make an impact in the two matches he played this series.
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