Australia vs India: Third Test Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

India's team selection for the second Test has been widely criticised after Australia leveled the four-match series with a victory in Perth. 

The tourists went into that match, the first ever Test at the new Perth Stadium, without a frontline spinner and paid the price. India were well beaten and Australia spinner Nathan Lyon was Man of the Match.

Australia vs India | 26 December - 30 December  | MCG, Melbourne 

To Win Match
Australia 11/10
Draw 4/1
India 15/10

The heat is off the hosts somewhat thanks to India's Perth fumbles, but they should know better than most that in Test cricket the tide can turn against a team in an instant.

Justin Langer is likely to keep faith in the XI that got the job done in Perth after some solid top-order batting displays and excellent bowling. The pairing of Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris as openers yielded a century partnership on day one in Perth and looks a promising one, even cast against the backdrop of Cameron Bancroft's ban reaching its end.

The Australian bowling attack is among the best in the world and only injury will prevent the foursome of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Lyon from taking the field in Melbourne.

The last Test at the MCG was a bore draw in the Ashes on the flattest of flat tracks, but staff have reportedly been hard at work to ensure the pitch has plenty of life in it this time.

Aside from Virat Kohli's 25th Test century, India will take very few positives out of the Perth Test - and the selection panel are under intense pressure.

The team sent out in Perth sported a long tail, making it puzzling that Bhuvneshwar Kumar was left out in favour of Umesh Yadav. That decision left India without a 'real test number eight', with Mohammed Shami moving up.

It has been revealed that Ravindra Jadeja was not 100 percent fit despite being included in the 13-man match squad, though the coach and his captain have not delivered consistent explanations of selections.

Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to be fit to return to action at the MCG, but Shastri said before Christmas that there were no plans to rush all-rounder Hardik Pandya back into the lineup after a long injury layoff.

Verdict: Australia 11/10
Australia are the epitome of a confidence team - and will take some stopping in what is traditionally the biggest Test of their home summer.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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