The ICC’s refusal to get involved in the spat between both Australian and Indian players and administrators outlines exactly how frail the relationship between the two has become, and how fiery the series has become. While it may be unsettling for the players, it makes for compelling viewing for the cricket loving public.
There is no doubt the third test at Ranchi will be no different from the controversial and completely engrossing games already played.
The tense series is delicately poised at one game each after India fought back to win game two by 75 runs. After an absolute annihilation in game one, where Australia got the better of them by 333 runs, the Indians managed to square the series with a come from behind win in Bengaluru.
In that second match, Australia again got the better of the first innings efforts and took a lead of 87 (their doomed number) into the second innings. before being shot out for just 112 in their fourth innings pursuit of 188. The twin spin threat of Jadeja and Ashwin proving too much on a low and spin-friendly surface.
The world’s best side are unlikely to make any changes. They’ll be the same as they were in Bengaluru.
The two Mitchells (Starc and Marsh) are out of the series, replaced by Marcus Stonis and Pat Cummins. Both slot straight into the side, with Cummins set to play his first test match for four years. No other changes expected for Australia who have lots of players in form (Renshaw, Smith, Hazlewood and Lyon) and lots of players not in form (Marsh, Wade, Warner).
Lokesh Rahul is one of the few Indian batsmen to handle both the speed and spin threat of the Australian side confidently. On the landmine surfaces, it’s amazing to think Rahul has faced almost 400 deliveries across his four digs. What’s more, he’s converted the long innings into runs – 215 of them, the most in the series. He’s the key player that Australia needs to contain here in game three.
It’s time for David Warner to do something about the hold that Ravi Ashwin has on him. Ashwin has removed the pugnacious opener four times in his last five efforts against India, and what’s more, he hasn’t been able to score off him easily when he’s not getting out to him. Warner’s huge to the Australians. He needs to score runs and set the tone, and that means finding a way to get off strike when Ashwin is bowling to him. Perhaps it’s time to unsettle Ashwin with his usual aggressive approach, that has deserted him in India thus far.
India – $1.57
Draw – $5.75
Australia – $4
*All odds from Bet365.
India to win comfortably by over 200 runs. Look out for Matt Renshaw to top score at $5.50
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