India vs Aus­tralia T20 in city to­day

Rain threat looms over the se­ries de­cider be­tween India and Aus­tralia at Hy­der­abad

Deccan Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - MOSES KONDETY | DC

This is it. After a month of on-field woes and body blows Aus­tralia’s tough tour of India draws to a close with the se­ries-de­cid­ing Twenty20 at the Ra­jiv Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Cricket Sta­dium here on Fri­day. And after a scorch­ing per­for­mance to pull level in the three-match con­test, the visitors would want to fin­ish the ex­haus­tive as­sign­ment on a bright note. The con­di­tions are rather gloomy though, with Hy­der­abad caught in a fit of bad weather that has thrown up the twists and turns of a T20 game — un­leash­ing ex­treme mood swings. Many an eye is look­ing sky­wards as grounds­men work over­time to pre­pare a fit field at fre­netic pace. The high-pow­ered pedestal fans set at in­clined po­si­tions in the out­field to dry out damp patches, point to slip­pery con­cerns. Well, the Aussies have been slip­ping and slid­ing in what has been a stren­u­ous se­ries for them so far. They’ve been through the rough and tum­ble in India for a month now and have stayed grounded on the field. The Kan­ga­roos would want to fly out on a high —sched­uled to take off home hours after Fri­day’s game. In a first, David Warner will be the vis­it­ing cap­tain at his IPL home ground, where he has a flood of fan­tas­tic mem­o­ries and fa­natic fol­low­ing. His Sun­ris­ers Hy­der­abad mates Moises Hen­riques, Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar, Shikhar Dhawan and Ashish Nehra too are in ac­tion. How­ever, the Ea­gles’ or­ange has given way to national colours of yel­lows and blues. The ground should also bring back con­trast­ing thoughts for play­ers on ei­ther side. Ro­hit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bum­rah emerged vic­to­ri­ous with the Mum­bai In­di­ans in the IPL fi­nal held in May while Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni, Daniel Chris­tian and Adam Zampa (Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giant) rue their ag­o­nis­ing, one-run loss. A sec­ond fi­nal is in store on Fri­day.

The first two T20s have been lop­sided al­right but fans would hope for a fe­ro­cious fight that be­fits the se­ries de­cider.

Christ­mas is quite some days away but it’s JB time in the bowl­ing depart­ment. Ja­son Behren­dorff and Jasprit Bum­rah are the lead­ers in this three-match se­ries, the first hav­ing quicky ac­quired rep­u­ta­tion of an in­ci­sive pacer after rock­ing the Blues bat­ting or­der in the pre­vi­ous game at Guwa­hati with fab­u­lous fig­ures of 4 for 21.

Moises, Travis Head and Aaron Finch head the bat­ting charts for Aus­tralia. India’s Kedar Jad­hav, Hardik Pandya and Vi­rat Kohli are lower down but are ca­pa­ble of turn­ing ta­bles in no time and treat­ing the fans to some pre-Diwali fire­works.

India would in­deed be itch­ing to bounce back and fin­ish the high-pro­file home en­gage­ment for a fes­tive feel be­fore get­ting ready to face the other team from Down Un­der — New Zealand. On the other hand, Warner and Co. will hope all is well that ends well... un­less they have ap­pre­hen­sions of Fri­day the 13th!

P. SUREN­DRA

The en­tire Ra­jiv Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Cricket sta­dium Ground was cov­ered on Thursday, eve of the third Twenty20 to be held at the venue. —

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