3rd T20: Will Mitchell Starc’s return spoil the party for India?
Mitchell Starc last played a T20I game in 2016. (Getty Image)

For all the criticism that Australia have had to face, they are the ones ahead in the three-match T20I series. Their under-fire batting came to the party in Brisbane with Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis justifying their giving India an early wake-up call. For the visitors, the call worked well as the bowlers pulled things back in Melbourne before rain robbed them an opportunity to level the series. For three straight games, Australia’s games have been affected by rain, but expect no such interruptions in Sydney or Sunday as India look to avoid their first bilateral T20I series loss – to the West Indies – since July 2017.

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Rest assured though, that for Australia, a win will do a world of confidence to their confidence. The return of Mitchell Starc will be a shot in the arm for them. Together with Jason Behrendorff, India’s batsmen won’t have it easy facing two left-arm quicks. Aaron Finch’s form is a bit of a concern for them and the captain would want to get that issue out of the way with the Test series so close. In order to build on the 1-1 scoreline and exact revenge for the 0-3 sweep in 2016, it will once again have to be their batting that will have to avoid what transpired in Melbourne where Australia were reduced to 62 for 5.

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While India’s bowlers came under the hammer in Brisbane, young Khaleel Ahmed continued to impress with 2 for 39 despite giving away most runs. India did not get a chance to bat in the previous game, but they would expect better balance, which can be achieved by pushing KL Rahul a lot lower and give Virat Kohli more time at No. 3. With no rain threats on the horizon, we are likely to have a full 20-over game in the series with both teams almost evenly-matched.

Date: November 25, 2018

Time: 12:50 IST

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Weather: Clear skies with no forecast of rain

Team News

India

Barring a few shuffles in the line-up, it is unlikely that India would force a change in their Playing XI. Kuldeep Yadav’s performance will tempt India to include Yuzvendra Chahal, but will it be decision India are willing to take with the series on the line? Doubtful.

Probable XI: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (captain), 4 KL Rahul, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Khaleel Ahmed/Yuzvendra Chahal

Australia

Starc has replaced the injured Billy Stanlake, hence he and Behrendorff are likely to share the new ball for Australia. Barring Finch, another batsman who hasn’t fired in the two matches so far is his opening partner D’arcy Short, but Australia might persist with both for there is no other specialist in the squad.

Probable XI: 1 Aaron Finch (captain), 2 D’arcy Short, 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Ben McDermott, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile/Mitchell Starc, 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Jason Behrendorff

Stats and Trivia

- If India lose the this, this will be their first bilateral T20I series loss after nine series. They’ve been undefeated in nine series.

- Starc last played a T20I game in 2016 and his last fixture on home soil was at the SCG way back in 2014.

Quotes:

“It’s not every day you have the opportunity to win a series for Australia. So it’s shaping up well, we’re doing the right things and we’ve got one win on the board, we just need that one more.” – Ben McDermott

“(Starc has) got so much experience in the limited-overs games as well and we’ve seen how dominant he can be when he gets it right with the ball. We’ll have a look at the wicket…and discuss the side but coming straight off a Shield game with an eye on the first Test, his preparations will be really good” – Australia captain Aaron Finch