The highest total at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) belongs to India: 705 for 7 declared. Sachin Tendulkar (241) and VVS Laxman (178), in 2004, added 353 runs for the fourth wicket, placing India in a position that would help them seal their first Test series win in Australia. However, fortune did not favour them. The Australian batters fought tooth and nail and drew the match, drawing the series 1-1 and denying India the triumph they had been looking for decades.
It’s been 15 years since that moment and the storyline hasn’t changed yet. India are still dreaming of it, when time will witness them ruling down under.
For that matter, India are closer than ever. They have retained the 2018-19 Border Gavaskar Trophy after grinding Tim Paine’s men to the Melbourne dust and taking an unassailable lead of 2-1. It, now, boils down to the Sydney Test, where Australia will have to play out of their skin to conclude the series 2-2. A draw too would do for India, but Virat Kohli has already stated that they will go for the kill.
Note: Make your fantasy cricket team by knowing the statistics.
Rohit Sharma won’t be a part of the New Year’s Test, as he has already boarded a flight to Mumbai to visit his wife who gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday.
India have added Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, and Umesh Yadav in the 13-man squad, leaving out the injured Ishant Sharma. However, in a statement on Twitter, BCCI said, “A decision on R Ashwin’s availability will be taken on the morning of the Test.
Australia, on the other hand, have drafted in all-rounder Marcus Labuschange in the squad.
Let’s list down the players who are likely to accumulate more points in our fantasy team.
My XI: Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Travis Head, Ravindra Jadeja (vc), Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins
It was at the very venue where Khawaja and Marsh began 2018 with scores of 171 and 156 respectively, in the last Test of The Ashes. If Australia are to stay in the hunt, these two stalwarts will have to emulate a similar performance. It was a featherbed for batsmen then and is likely to display a similar nature on Wednesday.
Among the many memories we have discussed in this blog, there’s also a nostalgic moment for KL Rahul who bagged his maiden international century here 4 years ago. In the same Test, Kohli scored a magnificent 147. However, it was not all merry for Pujara, for he was dropped to accommodate Rohit at No. 3. The situation won’t be the same for him now, for he is the best batter this series with 328 runs at 54.6, including 2 hundreds and a fifty.
Not only has Pant scored 22 runs more than Paine but also has as many as 20 dismissals compared to Paine’s 14.
5 wickets at 25.4 with an incredible economy of 2.2 on a flat surface of Melbourne, Jadeja was a better spinner than Lyon. Yes, you read that right. Given SCG traps batters in spin, Jadeja will be even more effective with his left-arm orthodox. We haven’t even touched upon his batting skills.
Many experts believe that Head should bat two places higher. He would get more freedom, but Australia need – at No. 6 – someone who can take on the opposition bowlers. Head is tailormade for the same, and it comes as no surprise that he is the highest run-scorer for Australia this series.
We have no option but to go for the highest wicket-takers this series: Bumrah has 20 scalps, Lyon has pocketed 17, and Cummins and Shami have claimed 14 each. All the same, we have only three slots remaining in our fantasy team. Bumrah and Lyon are the obvious choices, but Cummins’ recent rhythm puts him ahead of Shami.