With the T20I series now decided in favour of the Indian cricket team, all eyes will be tempted to shift towards the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The last two Test series between India and Australia have been extremely closely contested, with the former prevailing 2-1 on both occasions.
However, the two sides will first face off in the third and final T20I the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday. Despite the relative irrelevance of the final T20I, a closer look reveals a lot of chinks in both sides’ armoury that they would look to fix, with the T20 World Cup 2021 in their sights.
The move back to Sydney handed the visitors some harsh questions despite the game ending in victory. Deepak Chahar and Washington Sundar, hitherto premier powerplay options, leaked runs against the Australian stand-in openers. Yuzvendra Chahal’s shining come-out-of-nowhere gig in the first T20I seemed like a flash in the pan, as he had another poor outing with the ball.
India’s batting order, too, looks unsettled, with the Sanju Samson question throwing a spanner in the works. Manish Pandey struggled in his lone outing in the series, and his injury replacement Shreyas Iyer impressed in the 2nd T20I. The team would look to reduce their overreliance on Hardik Pandya’s finishing acts at the death, especially with Ravindra Jadeja now ruled out.
With most Test regulars expected to play the warm-up game against Australia A, most of the team picks itself. Here is India’s predicted playing XI for the third T20I against Australia.
The Indian openers have looked convincing in this series, with Rahul cracking a fifty in the first game and Dhawan reaching the milestone in the second. The two have looked solid in the absence of Rohit Sharma, and are quite likely to be persisted with in the final game.
The only potential change in this department could be a choice to play KL Rahul in the warm-up game, if India are looking at him as an opener for the first Test. In that case, Sanju Samson could open, and the rest of the middle order could wear a familiar look. India may also be tempted to give Rahul a rest with the gloves and allow Samson to show his worth behind the stumps.