India and Australia are all set to lock horns in the third of the four-match Test series at the Holkar Stadium in Indore from tomorrow, the 1st of March. Currently, the hosts are leading the series by 2-0 with two massive and straight wins in the first and second Test; played in Nagpur and Delhi respectively.
Notably, the Australian team is in trouble as the regular skipper Pat Cummins had already flown back to the country owing to family commitments. So, the former skipper and batting superstar Steve Smith will lead the team in the Indore Test against Australia.
In the absence of skipper Pat Cummins, veteran pacer Mitchell Starc is likely to fill the void by making it to the playing XI of the Indore Test. With said that, here we’ll have a look at three much-anticipated player battles that might be seen in the penultimate fixture of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Nathan Lyon
The veteran Indian batter and Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara recently played the 100th Test of his international career during the Delhi Test between India and Australia. The 35-year-old happened to finish the match and cross the line for India with the winning run in the second Test of the series.
Pujara and veteran Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon have faced off each other in 30 Test innings. There has been a very tough battle between both the Test giants; as the Indian batter has scored 532 runs with a decent average of 48.36. Whereas, Lyon has also dismissed the veteran Rajkot batter for 11 times in these face-offs. Considering this, it can be said that we can witness a very tough player battle between these two veterans in the Indore Test.
Rohit Sharma and Mitchell Starc
Indian skipper and batting veteran, Rohit Sharma is undoubtedly one of the finest batters of the current time in Test cricket. He is also the leading run scorer in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. Rohit has scored 183 runs in the three innings of the two Tests he got to play in the series with an average of 61.00; including a brilliant century in the Nagpur Test.
As his Australian counterpart, Pat Cummins will be missing from the third Test; so, the Indian skipper might get a tough time from the veteran Australian pacer Mitchell Starc. Although the two haven’t faced each other very much in red-ball cricket; Rohit has scored 61 runs in nine Test innings against Starc, whereas the latter has failed to get the better of Rohit Sharma even a single time.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Travis Head
Ravichandran Ashwin is probably the nightmare of the batters in the sub-continental; especially the Indian conditions. He is currently ranked second in the list of leading wicket-takers with 14 wickets in the first two Tests in the four-match Test series; just after Ravindra Jadeja (17 wickets).
The 36-year-old modern-day great off-spinner has also troubled the star Aussie batter Travis Head in red-ball cricket. The latter has faced 187 balls in seven Test innings against Ashwin so far and scored 63 runs with an average of 31.50. Whereas, the Indian veteran has dismissed Head two times in Test cricket. So, it will be an interesting sight to witness when Rohit Sharma will hand over the ball to Ravichandran Ashwin against Travis Head.