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The Australia test squad made its way from Melbourne to Sydney now. And they immediately worked in the nets. The 3rd Test is not too far away starting tomorrow.
It will be an important road ahead after the Aussies lost the 2nd Test. Even though India does not have Virat Kohli. The race to win this series is uncertain. Both teams are 1-1 with two games left. India can win right away as long as they do not lose.
A draw would not be guarantee though going to the 4th & Final Test. That will be Brisbane mid to late next week. It is just this target Australia will have to overcome either way. So they will need to win the remaining two Tests. The good news now they have two decent batsman back from injury. Both Dave Warner & Will Pucovski.
Bowlers, All unchanged
There is nothing to worry about the quickies unit. Mitch Starc maintains his top notch energy and speed. The same goes to Josh Hazlewood. And first change in Pat Cummins. I would also throw in all-rounder Cam Green. Just in case if the three main frontline quicks need a rest.
I did not hear much about having a 2nd spinner onboard. Usually this pitch in Sydney involves turning more. Just like the ones in the sub continent. It would favour these skillsets rather than the quicks.
But Australia have not used two frontline spinners in recent years. And would go with just Nathan Lyon. Plus Marnus Labuschagne is a part-time leggie who is usually good with the bat. He can cover part of the workload with Nate. Not too much. But only when Nate needs a hand.
Batsman Part 1, Retained
We have already went through with Cam Green earlier. Not only he can be handy with the ball. But with the bat. Cam did very well alone in 2nd Test (2nd innings spell) on 45 runs. He remained calm having picked the simple shots. And hung in there when the Top 5 unable to do the job. Crucial not to drop Cam out at No.6.
The same speaks for itself with skipper/wicket keeper Tim Paine at No.7. He may not have done outstanding last time. But was on song during the opening match on 73. It is not about just his sharp batting as seen in Shield level. But the catching and fielding/bowling tactics to play as well.
Marnus Labuschagne is unstoppable at first-drop. He can still provide the runs as it goes between the 30-40s. That will help Australia lift some confidence. It would not be possible without Marnus. And Steve Smith retains behind him at 4. Despite his constant single digits lately. But the selectors/coach still sees his class as permanent. There is still time for Smudge to turn around. And prove them wrong.
Batsman Part 2, Changes
Dave Warner just returned to the nets from a groin injury. And gave the thumbs up when facing Sean Abbott. So he is all right to go tomorrow. They need him badly from now on. The series is in the middle ground. And he would be the beneficiary to put Australia on the map in Sydney.
That is one change sorted where Warner will replace Joe Burns. Joe may have scored one late innings 50 to win the 1st game for Australia. But unable to get over a string of single digit scores. Before & after the warm up games. It is more than enough to justify his fate in this side.
The other bloke who filled in well as the other opener is Matthew Wade. It is not bad having scored 30-40s in his last three spells in this spot. But his usual best strengths lie in the middle order. Matt scored a few good scores on his return over the past year for Australia. Best to send him back there at No.5. And you got a good core v the old ball with Cam & Tim.
That means Travis Head has to make way for Wade. Some fans want him to stay on considering his test average of 39.76. But he has been inconsistent lately. Despite scoring 40 last week in one innings. Then suffer a single digit score once again. It is harsh. But that is way enough talk here.
And Warner will get a new opening partner in Will Pucovski. He is without doubt a batting machine. The only downside is that Will suffered plenty of concussions. But there is no reason why selectors should not value him. Based on his numbers proven at shield level. And they would gamble Will in this Test tomorrow. Hoping to show something in return. And be dynamic with his natural game/shot selection v the Indian bowlers.
- Dave Warner
- Will Pucovski
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steve Smith
- Matthew Wade
- Cameron Green
- Tim Paine
- Pat Cummins
- Mitchell Starc
- Nathan Lyon
- Josh Hazlewood
Australia hopes to get off the mark regardless of the toss. They should not worry about this too much. Instead invest those thoughts about this game itself. It is the only way will help them win matches.
The bowling attack can be lightning both seam and spin. But they better need support from the Top 6 batsman. That is where they are unable to stop India scoring runs alone. And the rest is history.
This planned batting attacking unit should be better than the first 2 games. And there are a few out there that can tame spin. Dave Warner is one of them. So would Marnus Labuschagne. And Matthew Wade. After we know what the pitch will be like in Sydney. It is a spin friendly outlook. It should be their secret weapon to fire off. And stay there. Before the quicks come in. So the home team will find it easy to clear the India Top 6. That is going to bring a clear path upon winning.