India vs Australia: Third T20I Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We take a look at the third final T20 International between India and Australia to be played in Hyderabad on Friday 13 October. 

The hosts were rather off colour in the second fixture in Guwahati, where a rarity saw each of their top four batsmen fail to contribute an innings of significance.

The tourists recorded a superb turnaround to level the three-match affair - and are presented with the opportunity to orchestrate a series victory many presumed improbable.

India v Australia | Friday, 13 October | Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad | 15:30

To Win Match
India 62/100 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 27/20

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The Indians are a fallible unit when forced to bat first, as was shown in the second match on Tuesday, when Virat Kohli and company slipped to a mere 118 all out - and lost by eight wickets. Entirely outdone by the pace and lofty trajectory generated by Jason Behrendorff, successfully combating the lanky fast bowler remains among their chief concerns.

The home side went unchanged in Guwahati, but Hardik Pandya again seemed out of sorts with the ball. While there is no doubting his positive impact with the bat, he needs support on both fronts. The selection of spinning all-rounder Axar Patel, then, seems a must for Friday's finale. Alternatively, the veteran Ashish Nehra is waiting in the wings.

Friday's venue has never hosted a T20I - and has accommodated just five ODIs since its 2005 debut. India have lost three of those - two, consecutively, to their current opposition. The inclement weather that truncated the first T20I and threatened the second, meanwhile, will likely affect the third amid a forecast of plenty of rain in Hyderabad.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and Nehra will know what variables to expect at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. All three have spent plenty of time here with the Sunrisers in the Indian Premier League. The pitch should yield a bit more carry and turn - and higher scores - than what was witnessed in Ranchi and Guwahati.

The Aussies will be grateful for Behrendorff's telling statement earlier this week. The four wickets he took were important numerically, but arguably more vital than the sum result. The tall seamer, indeed, showed Kohli and company that pace counts for plenty in sub-continental wickets made for spin.

Like Kumar, Dhawan and Nehra, David Warner and Moises Henriques were also part of the Sunrisers' 2017 squad - and will be able to offer their team-mates Hyderabad insight otherwise unknown. Henriques' role with the bat is becoming increasingly important, after his elevation to three in the order - and in the absence of Steven Smith.

The significant contributions by Henriques and Travis Head in Guwahati were a great boost for an oft-faltering middle order, especially after Aaron Finch and Warner departed early. Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Tim Paine need to make sure they follow suit, if required, come the all-important decider in Uppal.

Unlike India, Australia shouldn't feel the need to tinker with their XI. The recall of Stoinis ahead of Dan Christian was the right decision, but Kane Richardson will have to wait his turn, unless Andrew Tye is preferred. Both sport plenty of variations, but Tye's 'knuckle' balls are a stronger option than Richardson's slower deliveries out the back of the hand at his stage.

Verdict: India 62/100
Just one position parts them in the International Cricket Council's T20 rankings - and not much separates them here, but one surmises India will bounce back strongly.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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