The New Year’s test for 2021 between India and Australia will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) from Jan 7 to 11. There was talk during the boxing day test that the third test might be cancelled at the SCG due to a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in New South Wales.
All appears to be well in Sydney as the schedule will proceed as normal even with limited crowds in attendance. This is a very important test for both sides who are currently tied 1-1 in the four match test series.
India go in once again as the betting underdogs with odds of 7/2 while Australia have odds of 4/6. We take a look at five reasons as to why we think India should win at the SCG.
India showed great resilience after losing the first test at the Adelaide Oval to bounce back at the MCG and win in style. Stand in captain Ajinkya Rahane did a phenomenal job leading from the front scoring a brilliant hundred and displaying great leadership skills throughout the match, even when the side lost U Yadav early in the second innings.
Rahane will once again lead the side at the SCG even with the return of Rohit Sharma who will take on the vice-captain’s role. India will use the momentum of winning the second test in comprehensive fashion to try and quickly establish their dominance at the SCG.
Given the fact that the SCG has a pitch that is conducive to spin, India will look to win the toss and bat first and get a big total up on the board.
M Agarwal has not had a great series so far and is in danger of losing his place at the top of the order with the return of Rohit Sharma. It is quite likely that R Sharma will play at the SCG even though he has not had a lot of match practice in Australia has he has been under the stipulated 14 days of quarantine.
However, Sharma’s presence will make a big difference in the squad, especially with no Virat Kohli. Sharma is not only one of the most experienced players in the squad but also has the ability like David Warner to score quickly at the top of the order and make big scores.
India will be hoping that he clicks. He will also make a difference as he is very effective as a slip fielder.
Nathan Lyon is a world class spinner but the problem for Australia is that they have only one Nathan Lyon. India go into the SCG test with two world class spinners in R Ashwin and R Jadeja. R Ashwin has so far outfoxed Australia’s best batsman in Steve Smith in the first two tests.
The spin twins will be looking to once again make use of the spin friendly conditions at the SCG and run through the Australian batting.
Fresh Fast Bowlers
While it is true that India have lost a number of their fast bowlers due to injury, the positive side is that the new fast bowlers are fresh and can bowl their hearts out. M Siraj who took the place of M Shami at the MCG was a prime example of this.
The SCG test will see either T Natarajan or N Saini make their debut. Given the fact that the Aussies have not faced either of these bowlers in the longer format of the game, it could make things very interesting.
Australian Top Order
The fifth reason is due to the instability at the top of the order for Australia. Joe Burns has been dropped for the SCG test and it is likely that D Warner might play even though he is not fully fit.
If India can make early in roads into the top order quickly, they will immediately have the advantage.
If you are betting man, you might want to put some money on India for the SCG test.