The third match of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series between Australia and India will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) from January 7 onwards. The series stands 1-1 with Australia winning in Adelaide and India making a triumphant comeback in Melbourne.
This match will be of high importance, as a win here for India will give them a 2-1 lead and possible retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia needs to win this match to keep their dominance at home going.
The Indian team will look to continue with the momentum they got in MCG and would love to build on it in SCG. However, there will be a couple of changes in the Indian playing XI for the SCG Test due to the injury to Umesh Yadav and the return of Rohit Sharma in the squad.
Here is the COC Predicted Team India Playing XI for the third Test at SCG.
With the return of Rohit Sharma in the Test squad, expect one of either Mayank Agarwal or Hanuma Vihari to make space for him in the playing XI.
Though the focus has been mainly on the failures of Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal has not slipped under the radar and his flaws in technique with that high backlift are been highlighted by experts. He has scores of 17, 9, 0, and 5 in four innings thus far.
His partner in MCG, Shubman Gill did extremely well with scores of 45 and 35* on debut and he is likely to keep his place in the team. Therefore Rohit may come into the team and open the innings with Shubman Gill at expense of Mayank Agarwal.
The middle-order seems settled with Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant showing good outings with the bat. Pant has shown that counterattacking the Australian bowlers unsettles them and he returns to the venue where he slammed 159* the last time he batted here.
Hanuma Vihari is another player, who might be dropped to accommodate Rohit Sharma in the playing XI.
Vihari has made 16, 8, and 21 in three innings he has played and the short ball has been his kryptonite with Australian bowlers peppering him with bouncers. If Hanuma Vihari is dropped for Rohit Sharma, then Shubman Gill may be asked to bat in the middle order to give strength to it.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling at the Sydney track and both of them are quite handy with the bat as well, with Jadeja finding a new level of confidence with the willow in the past 2-3 years.
With Umesh Yadav out of the series injured, India has the options of bringing in either T Natarajan or Navdeep Saini in his place in the team and hand them their Test debuts. Or they can go for a little experience in Shardul Thakur, whose only Test in 2018 against West Indies ended with him getting injured after bowling only 1.4 overs.
Thakur also brings in the ability to bowl long spells economically, while Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj attacking from the other end. Thakurs’ abilities with the bat are just a bonus.
Bumrah will lead the bowling attack with Siraj in tow and expect the same speed and aggression from the duo that they showed in MCG, at the SCG as well.
COC Predicted Playing XI for Team India for the SCG Test:
Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj