India joins this journey. A win in the final ODI and the opening T20I means a slight spring in their step as they return to Sydney for the final two football matches before coverage changes firmly to the Test series, though that these games happen while the SCG is going Test preparations will ramp to others against Australia A across town at Drummoyne Oval.
It was a huge Indian fight in the opening match. From a position where they seemed to struggle to post 140 before the late attack by Ravindra Jadeja, who has since been ruled out of the series with the concussion that brought Yuzvendra Chahal to play his decisive role with the ball .
In pursuit, Australia were well positioned at 72 for 1 but Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell fell in consecutive batters and not for the first time lacked power down the command open, though Indian bowlers exploited field and began to catch more as the game progressed.
Given the condensed nature of this trip, players will juggle further. Australia have released Cameron Green to join the Australian A squad, but Mitchell Swepson will remain with the T20I group following his quick call following Ashton Agar’s injury. With Australia potentially losing up to six players, who would likely be the first choice players in their T20 XI – captain Aaron Finch was awaiting results on scans on Saturday after picking up a hip or glute injury in Canberra – this feels like a good opportunity for India to claim the series.
ALSO WATCH: Tri-for Natarajan on first appearance of T20I (Indian sub-continent only)
The last five games completed
India WWT (super win over) T (super win over) W.
In the magnifying glass
After two ODIs below par, Mitchell Starc looks much more like his normal self in his opening two overs in the first T20I, finding a late swing including the sharp winger that Shikhar Dhawan had nowhere near. His last two overs went for 23, but it was his short 144kph ball that Jadeja topped off his helmet to suffer a concussion. Now it’s out of the remaining T20Is *, Australia’s number 8 spot ready to win Andrew Tye, who hasn’t played international cricket for more than two years, or the uncapped Daniel Sams, who was the BBL’s top wicketkeeper last season and will be more like for the time being – replaced with his left arm velocity.
ALSO WATCH: Starc is uprooting Dhawan stump (Indian sub-continent only)
Given how he got into the side and dominated, all the talk about Chahal was, but Washington SundarPerformance with the ball was also vital in India’s victory. He bowled his four overs for 16, including 13 dots, driving the ball to the surface with Australian batters battling to make contact with straight or cross-bat shots.
Finch remains skeptical, and if he loses out he would need a change of captaincy with Matthew Wade likely to step in. He would also need reinforcements to the batting and would probably see Wade open with D’Arcy Short, who could create a vacancy for Alex Carey to return in middle order. Nathan Lyon has been drafted into the squad and a challenge to a Swepson spot could offer an offset to Adam Zampa’s leg. Josh Hazlewood has played all the football games so far so he can rest. With Starc out of the remaining T20Is, Australia could choose one from Andrew Tye or Daniel Sams.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch / D’Arcy Short, 2 Matthew Wade, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Sean Abbott, 8 Andrew Tye / Daniel Sams, 9 Mitchell Swepson / Nathan Lyon, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Jadeja will need to be replaced from the start this time around and Chahal’s performance makes him a natural option despite weakening the batting significantly. Manish Pandey did not have his best day out at No. 5 with 2 balls off 8 at Canberra. India may decide to rotate Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
India (likely) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Manish Pandey / Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 T Natarajan, 10 Jasprit Bumrah / Mohammed Shami, 11 Yuzvendra cried
Field and conditions
The surfaces were flat, very flat, for both ODIs although some Indian bowlers have found their rhythm since those games. A dry, mild evening is forecast.
ALSO WATCH: Henriques raises three key wickets (Indian sub-continent)
Statistics and trivial
In the opening game of the series, Moises Henriques bowled his full four-over T20 quota for the first time since February 2017
India are unbeaten in their last ten T20Is, a run that includes one no-hitter and two ties, which were then won on Super Overs against New Zealand
Two years ago at the SCG, India chased 165 to level the series.
“I think two leg winners are right. You’ve seen the impact legpin has had on T20 format in basically every competition; the BBL, IPL, international cricket there are a lot of leg winners a lot of impact. That ability to spin the two-way ball puts doubt in the mind of the batter. That’s where I think leg-winners have that advantage in the T20 format. “
“The pitch (in the first T20I) was gripping so I decided I wasn’t going to fly it for them, and bowl fast breaks like the Australian spinners in the ODIs.”
*The forecast was updated after Mitchell Starc was removed from the squad