Nothing seems to be going right for the Aussies as they have struggled to acclimatize to the Indian conditions and crashed to two humiliating defeats in the first two test matches at Chennai and Hyderabad. The action now shifts to the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali where the third test match is scheduled to be held from March 14,2013 to March 18, 2013. The two teams met each other at Mohali almost two-and-a-half years ago when things were a lot different than they are now. Ponting was still in charge of the Aussies while Dravid and Laxman were vital cogs in the Indian batting order. In-fact, that test match went down to the wire as India managed to win by just one wicket thanks to some superb second-innings batting by VVS Laxman. Though Mohali is known to be a seamer-friendly track, one wouldn’t be surprised if the curators are working overtime to prepare a turning track to help India exploit Aussies’ weaknesses.
The Aussies have been clueless against the Indian spinners and the 26-year old Ravichandran Ashwin has been particulary impressive. The off-spinner has picked up eighteen wickets in the two test matches. As a matter of fact, the spinners picked all the Australian wickets in the first test match and fifteen wickets in the second test match. With the exception of the Kangaroos captain Michael Clarke, none of the batsmen have consistently handled the Indian slow bowlers well. One can still argue that Indians are winning at home on tailor-made tracks and they were wiped out 4-0 by the Aussies down under. But if the Australians aspire to reach the heights of the Invincible team that they were a few years ago, they have to perform well even in Siberian conditions.
In what has come as a surprise to many, dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag has been dropped from the Indian squad for the remainder of the test series. While his recent performances have not been note-worthy, few expected him to be axed in the middle of a series that India were winning. Shikar Dhawan, who has been waiting on the sidelines for quite a while, is expected to make his test debut in Mohali.
Australia’s troubles continue to mount as wicket-keeper Mathew Wade sprained his right ankle while playing basketball with his team-mates. Though he has not been completely ruled out for the third test match, he is a serious doubt and 35-year old Brad Haddin has been called in as replacement. Aussie coach Mickey Arthur hinted that he would make a few changes in the side after the humiliation at Hyderabad and Usman Kawaja could come in place of the under-performing Phil Hughes. After two crushing defeats, Australia could go for a two-pronged spin attack with both Lyon and Doherty featuring in the playing eleven.
India’s probable lineup: Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Harbajhan, B Kumar, Ishant.
Australia’s probable lineup: Cowan, Warner, Kawaja, Watson, Clarke, Haddin, Henriques, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon, Doherty.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.