SYDNEY: The series already in their pocket, India would aim for a clean sweep against the hosts and end the tour of Australia on a high when the two teams clash in the third and final Twenty20 international here on Sunday.
India had lost the ODI series 1-4 but bounced back in style to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20 series with comprehensive wins in Adelaide and Melbourne.
It was at the Sydney Cricket Ground that the Men in Blue scripted their turnaround on this trip, with Manish Pandey playing a match-winning hand with his maiden ODI hundred.
Giving the youngsters a chance has been the key feature of this tour for the Indian team, and the progress of the likes of Gurkeerat Mann, Rishi Dhawan and Barinder Sran will be a big positive as the team looks to build on for the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Keeping on with the same theme, in the present context of the T20I series and the upcoming World T20, the arrival of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya also bodes well for the team’s plans.
When the selectors will sit to pick the World T20 squad, both Bumrah and Pandya will be in serious contenders, having impressed one all with their performance.
Their presence in the eleven has allowed MS Dhoni a multitude of bowling options. Bumrah has only had the one off game in three, and that too largely due to the persistence of the skipper to not bowl spinners within the first six overs in the last match.
In the previous games, he has bowled well in the death too, a plus point for India in T20 cricket. Pandya has bowled consistently at good speeds and his presence provides additional cover for the pacers.
This is where the roles played by Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina get amplified to a large extent. Post the Melbourne win, Dhoni discussed in fine detail that even one over bowled by the part-timers – good or bad – takes a load off the bowling attack.
And when it increases to two overs like the ones bowled by Yuvraj on Friday, it is just an added bonus in the scheme of things.
The duo’s presence has added a tighter balance to the playing squad, and India have looked well suited to the T20 format, especially in comparison to their opponents. It is a reversed scenario from the ODIs where Australia just steam-rolled India in all departments, until the final match. As such, India will be keen to continue their run of form and give the same eleven another run-in before the tour ends.