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Match Preview – India vs Australia, Australia in India 2023/24, 3rd T20I


Match Preview – India vs Australia, Australia in India 2023/24, 3rd T20I


Big picture: India eye early series wrap

Given the puzzling scheduling of this series, against an opponent with a core of exhausted players, who were part of an ODI World Cup-winning squad, it’s probably not surprising that India are on the brink of already wrapping up the series.

With an overhaul of their World Cup team, India are fresher and have enjoyed playing under the aggressive leadership of Suryakumar Yadav. But the opening two games were mostly competitive testament to Australia’s depth and a fiercely contested rivalry that almost always delivers.
Having shown signs of sluggishness in a 44-run defeat in the second T20I, it remains to be seen whether Australia can rally and keep the series alive as the teams get ready to fly from the south-west corner of the country to Guwahati in the east with a turnaround time of under 48 hours.
Australia will value tinkering with their line-ups and strategies ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is just over six months away. Of note, legspinner Tanveer Sangha, 22, has shown courage in the tough surroundings while big-hitting Tim David unleashed a whirlwind in Thiruvananthapuram in a welcome sign for a team looking for a finisher.
As the World Cup fades away, with the IPL 2024 trade action starting to take hold, India are enjoying a tonic with a new-look team that impressively built on a tense series-opening win. Their batting has been exciting with each of the top four batters having made half-centuries so far in the series before Rinku Singh has taken over in the latter overs. It’s been a tougher ask for their bowlers, but India have shown urgency in the field under the energetic Suryakumar.

They will hope to continue a strong start to their T20 World Cup preparations.

Australia LLWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)

In the spotlight: Rinku Singh and Steven Smith

Such has been his impact at the death, where he is striking at 230 without being dismissed in the series, Rinku Singh has inevitably evoked legendary MS Dhoni. Of course, the comparison feels like Rinku is on a hiding to nothing but he’s been unflustered in two different situations. In game one, he made a calm 22 off 14 balls to steer his team over the line before bludgeoning 31 off nine balls in the next game when India were teeing off after batting first. It will be interesting to see how he copes with the growing expectations.
While many of his World Cup-winning team-mates have returned home for a breather, Steven Smith has been back to work and determined to prove his worth as an opener. Ever since he cracked a couple of brutal tons in last season’s BBL at the top for Sydney Sixers, Smith has eyed the opener’s role for the T20 World Cup. He started well in Visakhapatnam with three boundaries in his first eight deliveries before being completely overshadowed by centurion Josh Inglis. Smith did finish with 52 off 41 balls, but his stay was brief in the second game. There is speculation that Smith might return home after game three, so if that’s the case then he’ll want to make his final innings of the series count.

Team news: Australia ponder recalling Behrendorff

With the chance to claim the series, India are likely to not make any changes. Ishan Kishan, who was initially a surprising choice at No. 3 instead of opening, has excelled with consecutive half-centuries. If there is swing around then Shivam Dube could be an option although spinners Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi were excellent in the second T20I. Left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh, who has taken just 1 for 87 from eight overs, could be squeezed out.

India (probable): 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav (capt), 5 Tilak Varma, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Prasidh Krishna, 11 Mukesh Kumar

Australia left out left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff, who was their best bowler in Visakhapatnam with 1 for 25 amid an onslaught. They played legspinners Adam Zampa and Sangha in tandem with an eye towards next year’s T20 World Cup, which will be played on expected slower surfaces in West Indies and the USA. If Australia opt to play the spin duo then Behrendorff may come in for seamer Sean Abbott, who was smashed for 56 off three overs in Thiruvananthapuram. He returned 1 for 43 off 3.5 overs in the first game and was hit by Rinku for a last-ball six in what turned out to be a no-ball.

Australia (probable): 1 Steven Smith, 2 Matthew Short, 3 Josh Inglis, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (capt, wk), 8 Adam Zampa, 9 Nathan Ellis, 10 Jason Behrendorff/Sean Abbott, 11 Tanveer Sangha

There have only been three previous T20Is at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium with one of those being an abandoned match between India and Sri Lanka in January 2020 due to rain. The two completed matches were polar opposites. Australia won by eight wickets in 2017 after Behrendorff ripped through India’s top-order with swing bowling on a tacky pitch. Five years later, India pipped South Africa by 16 runs in a match with a combined 458 runs.

There is no forecast of rain, but humid conditions are expected on Tuesday with dew likely to play a factor during the match.

“One of the things we had in our planning coming into this series was to have a look at Steve [Smith] up the top. And we’ve had a chance to do that now and again. We’ve been extremely happy with that intent that he’s shown with the bat.”
Australia stand-in coach Andre Borovec is happy with Smith the opener


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