The Second Test between Australia and India saw the visiting Indian being thrashed by the Baggy Greens by 146 runs to level the series 1–1, heading into the third Test of the Series. The next match will be played on the Boxing Day at the iconic Melbourne Cricket ground.
Having dominated the Indians in almost all departments of the game, the Kangaroos would be confident to repeat the same feat in the next test match as well and hence lead the series. However, if they can fix their middle-order batting woes who have not clicked together, then Australia are most certain to dominate the Third Test as well.
The Men in Blue have quite a lot of issues to be taken care of. The underperforming openers, lack of support from the lower-order, and the inability to cheaply dismantle the opposition’s tail-enders need to be properly assessed and fixed if there is any hope of an Indian return in the next Test.
The Third Test is thus expected to be an enthralling contest wherein the eventual winner of the game might have the advantage to go on and win the series. It will be a battle of the Indian Bowlers and the Australian batsmen, and whosoever stands their ground will ultimately lead their team to victory.
Intimidating Bowling Attack – In a bouncy green track at Perth, Nathan Lyon was the highest wicket-taker. He along with the quicks have proved a serious challenge to the famed Indian batting order, unsettling them and thus dismantling them cheaply. If they are again on a song in the third match, Australia are sure to dominate and win the match.
Useful contribution from the Lower Order – All of the Aussie tail-enders can hang around and make some useful contribution to the team’s score as was evident from the last two matches of this series. And with the Indian bowlers’ inability to get rid of them cheaply, it provides a boost by 50-80 extra runs added to Australia’s final total.
Lack of collective effort from the Middle-Order – In all of the four innings that Australia have batted in this series, there has been an individual effort by one player to post a somewhat respectable total for Australia. Be it Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb or captain Tim Paine, all have made runs but individually. If they can play collectively as a unit in the Third Test, then India would not stand any chance to win the game.
Menacing Pace Attack – The Indian pacers have done a formidable job keeping the Australian batsmen at bay. Much was expected of them in this tour and they have not disappointed their fans with a splendid performance in the current series, having picked up 32 out of 40 wickets.
Underperforming Openers – Both KL Rahul and Murali Vijay have lacked self-confidence and are getting out cheaply. This has, in turn, put more pressure on the middle-order batsmen to post a good total for India. Thus, India should look to change the opening pairing and give a chance to the Mayank Agarwal. He should be sent in with a left-hander, either with Rishabh Pant or with Parthiv Patel. Both these southpaws are fearless and gallant which will not only bring more runs with the new ball but will also unsettle the Aussie bowlers who will have trouble adjusting to their line and lengths bowling to a right-left opening combination.
Lack of support from the lower-order – With 167 runs still needed to win with 5 wickets in hand, many would have fancied India to win the Second Test as well. But the Indian lower order contributed just 21 more runs after Hanuma Vihari was dismissed as India was dismantled at mere 140. On the other hand, Australian tail-enders contributed an average of about 60-70 more runs, which put India on a back-foot. Hence, If India is to win the Third Test, the lower-order should contribute more that can give the Indian total an edge over the Australians.
Inability to dismantle the Australian lower-order – Another issue that has hindered India’s chance of winning a series in South Africa and England, and now even in Australia is the Indian bowler’s ability to get the tail-enders cheaply. In the two tests of the current series, Australian tail-enders on an average have added 60—70 more runs to the Australian total that has given Australia an edge over the Indians to post a competitive total. Thus, if India can rip to pieces the Aussie tail-enders, then they might surely have a chance to go on and register a victory in the third test.
This game is expected to be a challenge between Indian batsmen and Aussie bowlers, and if the Indians can play watchfully and negate the initial threat of the new ball, then India might have an advantage over the Aussies to post a big total and dominate the game. Another important factor is toss. Whosoever wins the toss and bats first will dominate the game. CricWizz expects India to bounce back after the thumping received from the Baggy Greens and go on to register a win in Melbourne.