After defeating Australia in the second Test by 75 runs, and the DRS controversy finally buried under the hatchet, team India will look to maintain its winning momentum going into the third Test at Ranchi. With the series locked at 1-1, Ranchi’s test debut will surely become an exciting affair.
On an individual basis, skipper Virat Kohli will aim to get some runs under his belt and get even with the Aussie bowlers whom he had belted during the last Test tour Down Under. Practising at the nets in Ranchi on the eve of the third Test, Virat Kohli was seen practicing the forward defence with a lot of determination as he seemed intent on spending more time at the crease.
Kohli came into this series riding on a great run of form, having scored a double century in each of the last 4 Test series. But so far he has registered scores of 0, 13, 12, 15 in the series. However, the Indian captain has not looked out of sorts and all he needs to do is spend some time in the middle. Meanwhile, the opening slot for team India will most likely see Murali Vijay make  a comeback as Abhinav Mukund was lacklustre in his performance with the bat.
A lot has been speculated on the track of Ranchi but it is expected to last the distance. Depending on the pitch one or two changes are possible in the playing XI. Kohli would like to go in with his favoured five-bowler combination which has worked well for India in the past. However, the Australian spinners exposed home batsmen’s vulnerability which must have led to some doubts creeping into their system. Hence, Kohli would certainly like to win the toss as it was one of the crucial factors in Pune and Bangalore.
Another issue which would be concerning the Indian think-tank would be the effective usage of DRS, something which India has got terribly wrong in the both the Tests.
Meanwhile, the visitors are just one win away from retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy and Australian skipper Steve Smith will look to maintain the pressure on India’s famed batting unit.
While the Australian team’s positive aspect over the past year has been its bench strength and availability of multiple players at single position, it will be interesting to see what kind of team composition is preferred by the management for this particular game.
The Aussies will surely feel Mitchell Starc’s absence. His replacement Pat Cummins, if he is selected to play, will have a lot riding on him as he is returning to Test cricket after five years. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who claimed eight wickets on day one of the second Test, is also suffering from a sore spinning finger and it will be interesting to see whether this will prove to be a decisive factor for the visitors.
All in all Ranchi is surely in for a mouthwatering contest between the two heavyweights of world cricket.
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