India to aim for Aussie whitewash in Sydney T20
The series already in their pocket, India would aim for a clean sweep against the hosts and end the tour of Australia on a high when the two teams clash in the third and final Twenty20 international here on Sunday.
India had lost the ODI series 1-4 but bounced back in style to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20 series, with comprehensive wins in Adelaide and Melbourne. It was at the Sydney Cricket Ground that the Men in Blue scripted their turnaround on this trip, with Manish Pandey playing a match-winning hand with his maiden ODI hundred.
Giving the youngsters a chance has been the key feature of this tour for the Indian team, and the progress of the likes of Gurkeerat Mann, Rishi Dhawan and Barinder Sran will be a big positive as the team looks to build on for the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Keeping on with the same theme, in the present context of the T20I series and the upcoming World T20, the arrival of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya also bodes well for the team's plans. When the selectors will sit to pick the World T20 squad, both Bumrah and Pandya will be in serious contenders, having impressed one all with their performance.
Their presence in the eleven has allowed MS Dhoni a multitude of bowling options. Bumrah has only had the one off game in three, and that too largely due to the persistence of the skipper to not bowl spinners within the first six overs in the last match.
This is where the roles played by Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina get amplified to a large extent. Post the Melbourne win, Dhoni discussed in fine detail that even one over bowled by the part-timers - good or bad - takes a load off the bowling attack. And when it increases to two overs like the ones bowled by Yuvraj on Friday, it is just an added bonus in the scheme of things.
Dhoni said as much in the post-match press conference at the MCG, underlining that the word experimentation doesn t have much use in the Indian dressing room. He added that they would rather play different individuals in different situations, but the current situation doesn’t t allow room for any such maneuvering. In that light, it is expected that India will go in with the same batting line-up as the first two T20Is. But the big question remains will Yuvraj or Pandya get a hit in the middle.
The same cannot be said of Australia, who seem to be more keen on the New Zealand tour than the World T20 at present.
It was indeed astonishing that they sent ahead their key players David Warner and Steve Smith before the second T20I while the home series was still alive.
Perhaps it makes more sense to have done so now, as the series is lost, and Matthew Wade, John Hastings and Kane Richardson have also left for the neighbouring island. It means more changes to the hosts’ line-up for the final T20I. With Aaron Finch ruled out owing to a hurt hamstring, Shane Watson will lead the side and Usman Khawaja has been drafted into the squad for this final match.
Cameron Bancroft will replace keeper Mathew Wade, but otherwise, it is fairly impossible to predict the look for Australia s playing eleven for Sunday.
Teams: Australia: Shane Watson (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye.
India: MS Dhoni (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Gurkeerat Mann, Rishi Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane. Match starts at: 2.08pm IST.