This series has been a tale of two tests so far with Australia humiliating India in the opener having bowled them out for just 36 runs in the second innings, though the Indians got revenge on their hosts in test two, completing a landslide victory having needed just 70 in their final innings to tie the series at 1-1.
What’s even more impressive for the touring side is they managed that at the MCG without captain Virat Kohli, and managing to stifle Steve Smith was a massive part of that.
Ajinkya Rahane filled in wonderfully as captain picking up the inaugural Mullagh Medal for the man of the match having hit 112 to set his side on their way before pitching in with a 27* to bring it home, and he’ll be full of confidence heading into this one.
The likely change for the visitors is Rohit Sharma coming back into the side at the top of the order to replace the misfiring Mayank Agarwal, though will that be enough for them to overcome their record in Sydney.
Australia To Beat India
Indeed, not only have India not won any of their last nine outings at the SCG since 1978, but the hosts also have a phenomenal recent record here, losing just one of their last 19 tests at this ground since 2003 with that only defeat coming against England all the way back in 2011, 10 tests ago, so we’d be reserved about their chances.
While Steve Smith is on one of the worst streaks of his career so far, there’s a reason he won cricketer of the decade and it’s inevitable that he’ll put on a big score at some point.
Of Australians to have scored 400+ runs at this ground, only Mike Hussey (94) has a better average than Smith’s 67.88, while he’s managed at least a half century in 70% of his innings.
The Indians will have to be firing on all cylinders if they want to take a 2-1 lead in the series, though to do so in consecutive tests on tour without your captain may be a bridge too far, and the likes of Smith and Marnus Labuschagne will be there to pounce on any lapses in concentration, so we’ll go with the grain a opt for the Aussies to improve their record here.