Can India pass the Behrendorff test?

In the third T20I, also the decider, the left-arm Aussie pacer can be a threat to the Virat Kohli-led outfit; the focus, however, is on the Indian middle-order comprising Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and M.S. Dhoni.

Australia’s Jason Behrendorff during the practice session on the eve of the last T20I cricket match between India and Australia in Hyderabad on Thursday.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

 

It is the decider and the think tank of Indian team should not be at fault if it looks beyond the top three in the batting line-up to explode for one last time if India (the teams are tied one-all) is to clinch the three-match T20I international series against Australia at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday.

It is obvious the Indian batting loses its momentum once the openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan depart early and more so, if captain Virat Kohli too follows them like in the second match at Guwahati. It is imperative for the likes of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and former captain M.S.Dhoni to come good — be it in setting or chasing a target.

Read: Rock thrown at Australia team bus

Given the scenario, the focus quite naturally shifts to Rohit, who seems to have a special liking for the Aussies and Dhawan, who missed the ODI series against the Australians because of his wife’s illness. If these two click, India is sure to win half the battle.

Also read: Travis Head hopes for an encore

In bowling, the accurate Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the ever-improving Jasprit Bumrah form a formidable combination with the new ball with all-rounder Hardik Pandya too capable of bowling at around 140 kmph consistently. In spin, it would be interesting to see whether left-armer and a very handy bat, Axar Patel, will come in for the expensive chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who was the receiving end in the previous game. Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal lends variety to the attack.

From the Australians’ perspective, captain David Warner and Aaron Finch hold the key at the top and are expected to come up with fireworks for the others — like the in-form Moises Henriques, Travis Head to come good.

Also read: Henriques helps Australia level series

In bowling, the stunning performance of debutant and left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff in the previous game could not have come at a more appropriate time and he can well be a potent weapon to dash India’s hopes again with his pace and movement. He also has the experience of Nathan Coulter Nile, Andrew Tye, Henriques to back him.

The striking prowess of young leggie Adam Zampa could be put to serious test on a pitch traditionally known to favour batsmen.

Head to Head

T20IS India 15  Australia 15

Won  India  10  Australia   5

Lost   India   5  Australia  10

Win% India  67 Australia 33

Squads

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Axar Patel

Australia: David Warner (c), Dan Christian, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (wk), Jason Behrendorff , Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis