New Delhi: In the driver's seat after two convincing wins, the stage is perfect for India to record their biggest-ever series win over a depleted Australia, who have been rocked by off-field controversies and dissensions, ahead of the third cricket Test starting from Thursday. Sachin Tendulkar gears up for new record In the ongoing rubber, the visitors had been easily beaten by eight wickets in the opening Test in Chennai, before being inflicted an innings and a 135-run defeat in the second game in Hyderabad.
If the humiliating losses in Chennai and Hyderabad were not enough, the once mighty Australians were dealt a body blow with the expulsion of four key players, including Vice-captain Shane Watson, for breach of discipline, ahead of their must-win game at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
India aim another victory over Aussies
If India is able to make it 3-0 in Mohali, it will be a welcome first for Indian cricket, against Australia, who had thrashed them 4-0 the last time they met at the Aussies' den. India have never won more than two Tests in a series against Australia.
"Pujara is fit for third Test" - Shikhar Dhawan
New Delhi: In the driver's seat after two convincing wins, the stage is perfect for India to record their biggest-ever series win over a depleted Australia, who have been rocked by off-field controversies and dissensions, ahead of the third cricket Test starting from Thursday.
Sachin Tendulkar gears up for new record
In the ongoing rubber, the visitors had been easily beaten by eight wickets in the opening Test in Chennai, before being inflicted an innings and a 135-run defeat in the second game in Hyderabad.
And Australia's expulsion of four key players – Watson, pacers James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawja -- have only brightened India's chances of scripting their best ever result against an opponent, who are going through a crisis situation.
Pujara injured during practice session
Going into the match, India's primary cause of concern, though, could be the blow star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara suffered during a net session.
After getting medical attention, Pujara had his left-knee strapped and didn't take part take further in the training session.
But, indications are that the Saurashtra batsman would be part of the playing XI, much to the chagrin of the Australia bowlers who have so far struggled to contain the technically solid India number three.
Even as the Australians will have some thinking to do as far as selecting their playing XI is concerned, India, save for the dropped Virender Sehwag, might be tempted to take the field with more or less the same winning combination.
|"I was wrong but find it hard to accept suspension" - Watson|
The middle-order wears a settled look with the young Pujara, Virat Kohli and veteran Sachin Tendulkar holding fort.
In the kind of batting form the hosts are in at the moment and with the cushion of a 2-0 lead, an attacking batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni will relish the prospect of taking on the Aussie bowlers.
Pitch to assist spinners
With the curator of the PCA stadium, Daljit Singh, who also happens to be in charge of the BCCI grounds and pitches committee, claiming that the track will assist the spinners, India will, in all likelihood, again pack their attack with slow bowlers.
Limited options for Aussies
With four of their players gone, the options are very limited for the Aussies. Ed Cowan and David Warner will open the batting, with the out-of-form Phil Hughes coming in at number three. Both Cowan and Hughes figuring in the XI, despite a run of poor scores, will surely somewhat expose Australia's weaknesses even more.
|Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar|
|Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Moises Henriques, Xavier Doherty, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin|
Match starts at 9.30 am (IST).