What a performance it was by the Indians in the 2nd Test, bouncing back after a disappointing loss in the first to level the series. After much unknown about who would host the 3rd Test, the SCG has been given the green light with the Test set to start on Thursday morning.
As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for the below.
SCG, Thursday 7th December, 10.30am
Australia Squad: Tim Pane (c), Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Sean Abbott
India Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Mayank Agarwal, Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Thangarasu Natarajan, Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Navdeep Saini, Rohit Sharma, Pritvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Shardul Takur, Hanuma Vihari
What a result it was for BeforeYouBet followers in the 2nd Test at the MCG. We tipped India to win the Test at healthy odds of $5.40, and they drifted all the way out to $7.00 before a ball was bowled. It was Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane who was the catalyst in the win, plundering a superb first innings hundred to set up a very good total of 326. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravi Ashwin were fantastic with ball in hand for the Indians, taking 11 wickets between them in the match as the Aussies were bowled out for just 195 and 200.
The Indians can now retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy with a win in Sydney but it will be the Australians who will start as betting favourites. Joe Burns has been dropped from the squad completely for the 3rd Test, with David Warner looking likely to fill the void at the top of the order. What the Australian selectors will do with the other opening position is the big question. Currently, the most likely scenario is that young gun Will Pucovski will join Warner at the top of the order, with Matthew Wade sliding down to No.5 and Travis Head coming out of the side. Cameron Green impressed in his first Test and will retain his spot at No.6 and the four premier bowlers all look set to play.
The Indians will likely play five bowlers once again after it proved to be the winning formula in Melbourne. Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj are walk up starters, but will they chose to play a third quick or a third spinner at the SCG? Kuldeep Yadav is the obvious option if they decide to go with spin, while their pace options include Navdeep Saini or Thangarasu Natarajan. Rohit Sharma has completed his quarantine and will likely come into the side, make the Indian middle order even more damaging alongside Pujara and Rahane.
Can Australia address the weaknesses in their batting line-up? The opening positions have been really shaky this series but so too have the ever reliable Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Obviously those two can’t be dropped, but can they find form against an elite Indian bowling attack on an SCG pitch that is likely going to be conducive to spin?
I think India have the upper hand in this series and in this Test, particularly if the SCG is going to be a spin friendly wicket and if they opt to play Kuleep Yadav alongside Ashwin and Jadeja. Sharma will boost their batting stocks regardless of whether he opens or bats in the middle order.
For me, there is just too many unknown quantities in this Australian batting line-up to justify them being a $1.71 favourite for this Test. Love the value of India at $3.70 here.
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