India vs Australia 3rd Test Preview & News- 16-20 March 2016

The Border-Gavaskar Test Series 2017 is perfectly poised for the 3rd Test Match at Ranchi from March 16th . The quality of cricket has been rather excellent from both sides, considering that pitches for the first 2 Test Matches have turned square right from Day 1. Complementing the contest of skills has been the contest of aggression, bringing back memories of Sydney 2008. With an imperfect Decision Review System thrown in the mix, we have the perfect recipe for an emotional rollercoaster in the last 2 Tests. Australia would be happy that Matt Renshaw, Steven Smith and Peter Handscomb have played the Indian spinners fairly comfortably and would expect them to click. David Warner and Shaun Marsh have both made starts but failed to capitalize on them.

However, given their talent, one good session for either of them could produce a century. Matthew Wade has appeared solid too and Australia’s batting unit, in spite of the 2nd innings collapse in Bengaluru, looks confident and settled. However, in the bowling department, Australia have been lent a huge blow with the injury of Mitchell Starc. Moreover, the fact that Nathan Lyon wasn’t very successful in the 2nd innings in Bengaluru could also be a sign that Indian batsmen have finally figured out a way of surviving against him.

It remains to be seen if Lyon and O’Keefe can cause as many problems for the Indian batsmen if the Ranchi pitch turns out to be unfriendly to spinners. The onus to lead the attack might well fall on Josh Hazlewood ultimately. For Indian batsmen, the good news is that Ajinkya Rahane has finally found form. With Pujara and Rahul both looking good, the stage is set for a Virat Kohli special in Ranchi. It would be interesting to see if Mukund is dropped after just 1 failure or Kohli sticks to his practice of giving multiple chances to youngsters.

In the bowling department, India would be particularly happy with their fast bowlers and the way they performed on the 2nd day of the Bengaluru Test. The Australian collapse on the last day also was triggered by Yadav’s spell in which he got both Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh out LBW. With both Indian spinners getting support from the fast bowlers, Indians will go in as a confident bowling unit into the 3rd Test match.

Lastly, given the role that DRS has played in the series till now, it would be interesting to note the attitude of both captains to it. Will Kohli get more careful with his reviews? Will Smith have a ‘brain fade’ again? At the end of the day, the result could well depend on which captain keeps his cool in the crucial moments