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Australia vs India, 3rd Test Match Prediction

Dec 26, Wed 23:30 GMT , Melbourne Cricket Stadium, Jolimont, Victoria, Melbourne

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Australia 261/10 & 151/10 *
India 106/8 & 443/7
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- Prediction by Benny Thompson

India won by 137 runs

ABOUT THE MATCH

After India registered a 31 run win over Australia in the first Test, the hosts clawed their way back with an imposing 146 run victory in the second match. Which makes the Melbourne Test all the more important as whoever claims victory here will have the upper hand in the 4 match series.

Match Preview

India and Australia have now played 96 Test matches against each other. Australia have won 42 Tests while India have won on 27 occasions. 26 matches have ended in a draw.

iconAustralia Team News

Having dominated proceedings in the match at Perth, it might be tempting for Australia to go with an unchanged Starting XI. But Peter Handscomb has been struggling for runs and he could be dropped for Mitchell Marsh. Both of them have not really shone with the bat in recent times but Marsh has an edge because he can contribute with the ball as well. He can provide some respite to Australia's pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Aaron Finch is nursing a finger injury but he is expected to be fit and ready to open the innings as usual.

While India had gone into the Perth Test with 4 pacers and no spinner, Australia had picked 3 seamers and a spinner in Nathan Lyon. The hosts' plan worked as Lyon picked up the Man of the Match award and they are likely to approach the Melbourne Test with the same strategy.

iconIndia Team News

Lots of question marks hover around India's team selection after the debacle at Perth. They had raced to a 1-0 lead after their exceptional performance in Adelaide but all the good work was undone by Kohli's strategy of going with 4 pacers. He had gambled on winning the toss and when that didn't go his way, India were always on the back foot. Except Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, no one stepped up with the bat for India and they were left to rue what might've been. Both the openers, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay, are hopelessly out of form and with Prithvi Shaw still not having recovered from his ankle injury, Mayank Agarwal could replace one of the two at the top. Rohit Sharma is also still unfit and considering he didn't score runs in the first Test, he too is unlikely to play.

The big question for India is in the spin department. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are both believed to be carrying injuries but they did bowl in the nets and seemed alright. India have to pick one or both of them if they harbour any hopes of claiming 20 wickets in Melbourne. Kuldeep Yadav is another interesting option but that could be a drastic change even for Kohli. Umesh Yadav will most likely be replaced by the fit again Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Apart from being economical and claiming wickets, he can contribute with the bat as well. India's bowlers have hardly helped the team with the bat and that's a major difference between the two teams. Australia's last 4 batsmen have made a combined total of 227 runs in 2 matches while India's last four have made 51.

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Pitch Conditions

 

Melbourne has been a batting pitch in recent times with the three teams batting first in the last four matches scoring in excess of 440 runs. The weather is expected to be really hot in the coming days with the temperature likely to hover around 35 degree celsius. Plenty of runs look likely with not much available for the pacers, especially initially, which could tempt India to pick one or even two spinners for this one.

Toss Prediction

 

The team winning the toss has won the first 2 matches of the series and that pattern will most likely continue. However, unlike the first two matches, the team winning the toss in Melbourne will elect to bat first.

Our Match Prediction

Australia have the edge and the right team balance at the moment. They are well placed to claim this Test and take a 2-1 lead.

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