Australia return to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the 2nd T20I of the 3-match series against India.
The Kangaroos need a win to take the series to a decider, but unfortunately for them, they have a number of injuries to contend with.
Captain Aaron Finch suffered a glute strain in the 1st T20I, and he is awaiting the results of a scan. David Warner and Ashton Agar are the other regulars who have been ruled out with injuries.
Keeping these facts in mind, here’s how Australia could line up for the 2nd T20I against India.
Aaron Finch didn’t sound too optimistic of making a quick recovery from the injury he sustained while fielding in the 1st T20I. He stated after the game that the issue got ‘progressively worse throughout’, and we might see him sit this one out.
In his absence, Australia have a few options that they can open the batting with – Matthew Wade, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis and Marnus Labuschagne. Three of these batsmen open the batting regularly in the Big Bash League, and Australia don’t have many other options at their disposal.
If Stoinis recovers from his side strain, he could be the man to partner D’Arcy Short at the top of the order. The all-rounder’s injury has kept him out of the final two ODIs and the 1st T20I, and he could make a return to the playing XI in this game.
Even if he’s not fit to bowl, Stoinis could play as a specialist batsman. He’ll be boosted by his exploits opening the batting in the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League, in which he finished as the leading run-getter by some distance.
Australia named Matthew Wade as their vice-captain for the 1st T20I, but the wicket-keeper’s place in the side is far from certain. We could see Steve Smith make a return to captaincy for the first time since the infamous ball tampering scandal.
The 31-year-old has been in excellent batting form for his country in this series, and seems to be back to his best following indifferent campaigns in the Indian Premier League and in England.
The role of the gloveman is a straight toss-up between Wade and Carey, and the latter might be given the nod this time. Wade looked far from his best in the 9 balls that he faced in the 1st T20I, and holed out in the deep off the last ball of Yuzvendra Chahal’s spell.
Carey, on the other hand, has been in decent nick for Australia, and has finished off a number of innings for his country in the recent past. An excellent player of spin and an assured presence lower down the order, he might be what the Aussies need to turn the series around.