India vs. Australia
MATCH UP STATS
India vs. Australia
Man of the match:India: Virat Kholi - $5 @ CrownbetAustralia: Steve Smith - $9 @ Crownbet
Top run-scorer:India: Lokesh Rahul - $5.50 @ Crownbet.com.auAustralia: David Warner - $3.60 @ Crownbet.com.au
Top wicket-taker:India: Ravi Ashwin - $2.25 @ CrownbetAustralia: Nathan Lyon - $3.25 @ Crownbet
Thursday, March 16 from 3pm AEST, Ranchi, India.
MAKE no mistake, this is as big as it gets in Test cricket.
India and Australia have it all to play for in the third match of the four-Test series in Ranchi.
A win for Australia will do enough to draw the series and Steve Smith’s men will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The Aussies would then be within striking distance of its biggest and most-unlikely series victory in a decade.
A win for India and they go one step closer to winning the series and holding its position as the number one Test nation in the world.
But the news isn’t good for Australia heading into the match.
Mitchell Starc, the leader of the Australian bowling attack and one of the best-performed players of the tour thus far, is out with a foot stress fracture. He has been replaced in the squad by young quick Pat Cummins.
In addition to Starc’s loss, besieged all-rounder Mitch Marsh has also succumbed to injury, but his departure was greeted with relief and could have pre-empted a sacking following modest returns in the first two Tests.
While the Australians have to swing the deck chairs to find the right balance in the third Test, India look to have a settled line up with no injuries to speak of.
Where will the match be won? Who can put their mark on the series?
Let’s look at the betting markets that matter.
Most runs betting for the 3rd India vs. Australia Test
There’s one name looming over this series that Australia has managed to keep quiet so far.
India’s captain has been quiet in the first two tests, with modest returns of 0, 13, 12 and 15 from his four innings, but it will be tough to keep him down for a third-straight match.
Kholi averages almost 50 in tests and has proven dominant on his home deck, but the Aussies have had his number so far in the series.
We think the Indian leader is due – and there’s a number of factors to support us.
Kholi loves playing at Ranchi. He averages an incredible 261 at the ground in ODI cricket and after a week of trading barbs with Ian Healy, Steve Smith and everyone else attached to Australian cricket, he’ll be fired up and ready to perform.
Despite his struggles early, you can’t ignore Kholi’s numbers against Australia over the course of his career. In 8 matches against the Baggy Green he has averaged 62 and notched five centuries.
Kholi is the favourite to top the batting for India in the first innings at +225. We think that’s good value, considering what’s at stake in this match and how important Kholi is for the home side.
Call us crazy, but there’s value in Shaun Marsh.
Yes, Marsh has made a career out of letting himself down when under the pump, but the left-hander has talent and has shown signs of being more than useful over the last fortnight.
Marsh top-scored in the first innings in the second test with 66 and was unfairly judged to be LBW in the second innings.
Batting at either the 3 or 4 slot in the lineup, we know that Marsh is going to see more than enough deliveries to make a big impact if he can repeat his second test form.
While Dave Warner and Steve Smith may be the more popular and consistent betting options, it’s Marsh that provides some value in this market.
At +400 with Crownbet.com.au, our tip is for the long-time villain of the Baggy Green to put in one of the surprise performances that keeps him in the side for another five years.
Who will take the most wickets in the 3rd Test?
The word on the street is that India is preparing a pitch that will be a vicious turner – so our attention is going to be on spinners.
So when you’re talking Indian spinners, the conversation begins and ends with Ashwin and Jadeja.
Ravi Ashwin is the number one test bowler in the world and is as consistent as the day is long on the cracked, turn-friendly pitches in the sub continent.
While Jadeja has made his name as an all-rounder, it has been his left-arm orthodox that has made him the dominant bowler for India in the series thus far. He and Ashwin took six wickets each across the second Test and gave the Australians trouble in a number of exciting spells.
So, how do you separate the two in the third test?
Consistency places Ashwin in the box seat. We know he’s going to bowl the most overs. We know he’s going to bear the brunt of the responsibility in the bowling attack and we know that he brings form into the game after taking six wickets in the final innings of the second Test.
Ashwin is paying +125 at Crownbet.com.au to take the most wickets in the first innings for India – we suggest that’s an excellent multi leg.
The Aussie bowling lineup is complete guess work heading into Thursday’s match.
Starc is most likely to be replaced by Jackson Bird or Pat Cummins in the final eleven, meaning the Aussies will have a similar attack to the one that has troubled India in the opening two matches.
While we expect Josh Hazlewood and Starc’s replacement to provide the fire power with the new ball, but again, you can expect the bulk of the overs to be bowled by Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe.
Lyon is coming off an eight-wicket, career-best effort in the first innings of the second Test, while O’Keefe continued his miserly bowling in the second encounter after his own career-best 12-wicket match haul in the First Test.
Our nod goes to O’Keefe, but only because of Lyon’s injury.
The cult spinner has a ‘raw’ spinning finger and struggled for any traction in India’s second innings last week. While he has said he will be fine to go for this match, we’re not confident he’ll be at his best.
The Ranchi pitch has been compared to the first ticket surface, in which O’Keefe dominated, so we’re going with SOK, who’s paying +275 to lead the Aussie attack in the first innings.
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