IND vs AUS 3rd Test Match: India is going to take on Australia in the third test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy at Indore starting on Wednesday. India have already taken a 2-0 lead in the series and each of the first two tests were over within three days, as the home side left the No. 1 test team in the world wounded with their spin bowling.
One can expect that the pitch in Indore will be a turning track as well and the Australians, who will be missing a few regular players including skipper Pat Cummins, will look to salvage some pride at the Holkar Stadium. Steve Smith is going to lead the Australian side at Indore.
On that note, we will take a look at a couple things that might be crucial in determining the fate of the match:
#1. Australian batters struggling against deliveries bowled at the stumps by the Indian spinners:
Over the last decade or so, the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have gained prominence and like most of the visiting sides, the Australians have also found it difficult to deal with them. If one adds the presence of Axar Patel, it makes the job even more difficult for the batters.
The Indian spinners typically have aimed at the stumps more frequently with a horizontal seam position. As a result, the ball has skidded off the surface and also kept low to dismiss the batters by getting them bowled or LBW.
The Australian batters have often found the ball hitting their front pad while they were trying some extravagant sweeps or reverse sweeps. The sweep shot is a bit dangerous for the batters when the ball is pitched in the line of the stumps and also keeping low.
Moreover, the batters should probably also think of playing the sweep only after they have played themselves in and are well set on the crease. They could also think of playing with a bit more open stance to take the front pad out of the line of the ball.
However, it remains one of the most difficult tasks in world cricket to deal with the Indian spinners in their own backyard. It will be interesting to see the approach the Australians adopt in the third test.
#2 The selection dilemma for both teams:
Despite winning the first two tests, which ideally means that they should go into the third test with an unchanged team, the Indians might actually think of dropping K L Rahul and accommodate Shubman Gill. Rahul has been experiencing indifferent form for quite some time now and might have fallen out of favour with the Indian team management finally.
The problems for the visitors are more critical, as they might think of playing Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland in place of Cummins and Matthew Kuhnemann, respectively. However, it remains to be seen whether playing with a couple of pacers on a slow and turning wicket will prove to be a judicious decision.
Boland had played in the Nagpur test and was economical, but could harldy bowl any wicket-taking deliveries. In comparison, Kuhnemann got a few wickets in the Delhi test despite going for some runs by typically pitching the ball a bit too full at times.
With another left-arm spinner Ashton Agar already sent home, the choices for the Australian team management are very limited now. In this context, it has to be remembered that Australia lost the second test because of their poor batting and not because of their bowling.
Talking of batting, Cameron Bancroft is all set to replace David Warner at Indore and will face a stiff task against the Indian bowlers. Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith are going to be two very critical players for the visitors and the former would do well not to throw his wicket away by playing rash shots after playing himself in. As for Smith, he is a fantastic player of spin bowling and hence, more is expected from a batter averaging more than 60 in tests.