India vs Australia 2020 Live score and latest update of 3rd Test at Sydney: Rahane turns to pace for the final over of the day, with Saini conceding a single off his seventh over as Labuschagne and Smith ensure Australia are in the driver’s seat at close of play on the opening day of the third Test at the SCG.
Rohit Sharma's mere presence has added spring in the strides of the team and the youngsters in this current set-up swear by him, the reason he replaced Cheteshwar Pujara as vice-captain after just one Test. AFP
If Rahane's side can go 2-1 up and ensure the retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, it will be one of the finest hours in the history of Indian cricket. Making it even more special is the fact that the side has been without two world class performers and a senior pacer against a nearly full-strength Australian team.
Seldom has an Australian batting unit, that boasts of a player of Steve Smith's calibre, looked so circumspect and literally intimidated by an Indian bowling unit, which isn't operating at full-strength and, in all likelihood, will pick either Navdeep Saini or Shardul Thakur for the third Test.
The pressure is understandable as they are literally pushing a 70 percent fit David Warner out there in the middle to combat fire with fire even as his statements make it clear that he is not at all comfortable with the idea.
"He is energetic, professional, who could make an instant impact and fills guys with confidence," Paine's words on the eve of the match indicated their desperation.
And in this backdrop, enter Rohit Sharma, whose last couple of months have been loads of off-field drama.
First it was his absence from the initial part of the tour due to a hamstring injury sustained while playing the IPL.
Then his subsequent quarantine for two weeks in a Sydney apartment.
And when he finally united with his teammates, an excited fan inside a Melbourne restaurant led to an inquiry against him and four other teammates for what was called by the local media, a potential bio-security breach.
But the white-ball legend has learnt the art of being unfazed, which was evident from his intense net session on Tuesday when he was comfortably facing the first team bowlers like Ravichandran Ashwin.
His mere presence has added spring in the strides of the team and the youngsters in this current set-up swear by him, the reason he replaced Cheteshwar Pujara as vice-captain after just one Test.
It is quite possible that Rohit's presence in the team think-tank has prompted them to have a serious debate on whether to play Saini or Shardul.
The Sydney track has traditionally favoured the batsmen as Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sachin Tendulkar and even Pujara and Rishabh Pant, who got centuries here during last tour, will vouch for.
If Rohit and Shubman Gill can give the team a good start, the under-pressure Pujara will be much more relieved while playing his own defensive game.
Rahane, after one of his more copybook hundreds constructed in adversity during the last game, will enter the arena with more confidence while facing the Australian quartet of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
KL Rahul's injury is expected to give Hanuma Vihari one more chance despite his returns being as underwhelming as Mayank Agarwal's, who will be forced to make way for Rohit.
But it is Australia's wobbly batting that will again be put to test by Ravichandran Ashwin on a track, that has traditionally helped spinners.
With 10 wickets and a new-found confidence, Ashwin has won both on and off-field battle against opposition's key players such as Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
It's not just the wickets that he has scalped but the manner in which he has managed to create doubts in the minds of world class batters is worth its weight in gold.
As much as Australia needs Smith to be back in form, they would also need someone like Travis Head to deliver as he has failed to get a hang of both pace and spin.
Jasprit Bumrah will be leading the pace attack and is expected to show the way with his bagful of tricks.
Whether it's Siraj or Saini, whoever shares the new ball will have their task cut out as they aim to match the highest standards set by the likes of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.
Here's all you need to know about the third Test at Sydney:
When is Australia vs India 3rd Test?
Australia vs India 3rd Test will begin on Thursday, 07 January 2021.
Where will Australia vs India 3rd Test be played?
Australia vs India 3rd Test will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney.
What time does Australia vs India 3rd Test begin?
Australia vs India 3rd Test will begin at 5 AM IST. The toss will take place at 4.30 AM IST.
Which TV channels will broadcast the Australia vs India 3rd Test?
Australia vs India 2nd Test will be telecast on the Sony Pictures Sports Network. The match will also be live-streamed on SonyLIV. You can also catch the live updates on firstpost.com.
Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Marcus Harris, Moises Henriques, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mitchell Swepson
India: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane(c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Prithvi Shaw
With inputs from PTI