It's do-or-die at Sydney

Updated: Nov 25, 2018, 11:02 IST | Gaurav Joshi | Sydney

India desperate for victory in third and final T20I to level three-match series 1-1 against Oz today

India's Jasprit Bumrah celebrates the wicket of Australia's Marcus Stoinis with skipper Virat Kohli in Melbourne on Friday. Pic/AFP
India's Jasprit Bumrah celebrates the wicket of Australia's Marcus Stoinis with skipper Virat Kohli in Melbourne on Friday. Pic/AFP

The T20 schedule is so tight that there is barely any time to reflect or analyse the previous match. India were in the box seat to level the series in Melbourne after a superb display by the bowlers, but persistent rain meant they headed to Sydney still one-nil down in the series. India have won seven consecutive T20 series and while they cannot make it eight, they will be desperate to ensure the tour Down Under doesn't begin with a loss in the T20 series.

Umesh Yadav in playing XI?
The short turnaround and with Indian batsmen having only batted once, it is unlikely the team will make any drastic changes for today's decider at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). However, given the fast bowling workload management factor there is a possibility that either Jasprit Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar will make way for Umesh Yadav.

After the washout in Melbourne, Australian skipper Aaron Finch praised the way the Indian bowlers adjusted their game plan. One important change was to open the bowling with Khaleel Ahmed and hold Bumrah for the later stages. The SCG pitch is generally on the lower side and can aid spin bowling with teams generally playing two frontline spinners during the Big Bash League matches. But with the lack of batting depth, it is difficult to see the Indian team leaving out Krunal Pandya.

Virat Kohli had a poor game at the Gabba and didn't get a chance in Melbourne. The Indian skipper will be keen to stamp his authority before the Test series gets underway on December 6. The Indian skipper should return to his beloved No. 3 spot today with KL Rahul either demoted or replaced by Manish Pandey.

Mitchell Starc comes in
Meanwhile, the Australian team have made a late change to their squad on Saturday by including pacer Mitchell Starc for the injured Billy Stanlake. Starc bowled at the SCG nets two days ago and Australia could spring a surprise and include him in the playing XI. Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell are the barometers for the Australian T20 team. If the Indian bowlers can limit the damage from their willows, it will go a long way in restricting the Australians. One thing for certain is that the crowd once again is expected to be predominately Indian and Team India will be hoping the strong support can help them level the series.

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