India have a golden chance to claim a 3-0 series sweep in Australia without really hampering their preparation for the upcoming Test series.
Neither Jasprit Bumrah nor Mohammed Shami were required in the series-clinching win on Sunday night with India’s attack doing the job in pegging back Australia after conceding a fast start. T Natarajan was outstanding again with the ball while Shardul Thakur played a role as well in controlling Australia through the middle overs after Matthew Wade’s onslaught.
Both have the chance to embed themselves in India’s T20 set-up while Tuesday could provide an opportunity for India to experiment with their batting line-up with the series won thanks to Hardik Pandya’s heroics.
Australia have had their selection hand forced throughout the series due to injury and have no reason to risk any Test players. Australia will be very happy with how the legspin pairing of Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson went on Sunday night, but the pace stocks have been tested with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Kane Richardson all absent.
Sean Abbott, Daniel Sams, and Andrew Tye have all showed glimpses of handling the level but also have been exposed at times. All can only benefit from more opportunities albeit without a series on the line.
(last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
D’Arcy Short‘s place in Australia’s broader T20 plans ahead next year’s World Cup may well be under review after his two outings in this series. In fairness to Short he has been on the fringes for some time and was not initially selected in the squad. He only came into consideration when David Warner was injured, but despite remaining a dominant force in the BBL he has failed to translate that form to international cricket. In his last 11 T20 internationals over a two-year period he has scored just 190 runs at 17.27, without a half-century, at an alarming strike-rate of just 95.95. He also hasn’t bowled a ball in this series.
T Natarajan could make a case to be player of the series on Tuesday if he continues his stunning form. Hardik Pandya thought he should have been Player of the Match in the second T20I at the SCG producing stunning figures of 2 for 20 on a surface where most of the fast bowlers copped a hiding. His left-arm variety, exceptional skills, and ability to execute under pressure could make him a vital part of India’s T20 attack heading into the World Cup.
Australia coach Justin Langer said captain Aaron Finch was a chance to return for Tuesday’s clash despite missing Sunday’s loss due to a minor glute strain. If Finch does return, Short would be the obvious man to either slide down the order or make way altogether. Steven Smith could also be rested which would open the door for Marcus Stoinis to move up to No.3 and perhaps give Alex Carey another opportunity after he was dropped for Wade in England. The attack may well be unchanged with no need to risk Hazlewood who missed Sunday’s match with back soreness.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch/D’Arcy Short, 2 Matthew Wade, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Sean Abbott, 8 Daniel Sams, 9 Mitchell Swepson, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 AJ Tye
India have no reason to make a change unless anyone needs a rest before the Test series. There is no need for India to play Shami or Bumrah and both could get an extended break to prepare themselves for their Test workloads.
India (possible) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Shardul Thakur, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 T Natarajan, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Pitch and conditions
The SCG has produced runs, runs, and more runs in this series and it is unlikely that much will change on Tuesday. Conditions will be very mild and possibly cool on Tuesday with a southerly change bringing a strong wind that may affect bowling and batting tactics at certain stages.
Stats and trivia
- Australia have been whitewashed twice in three-match T20I series: once by India and once by Pakistan
- The second T20I was the highest-rating cricket match on Australian subscription television – beating the record set last weekend with the second ODI.
“We haven’t probably finished with the ball as well as we wanted over the last couple of games but we are playing good T20 cricket. We have good players, unfortunately, we didn’t have guys like Starc and Hazlewood last night which will hurt any team, but on the flip side it’s a real positive that guys are getting experience at international level.”