India vs Australia 3rd Test Match Preview: Focus back on cricket after Virat Kohli-Steve Smith controversy

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New Delhi | Published: March 15, 2017 4:03:18 PM

India vs Australia 2017, 3rd Test Match at Ranchi: The pitch curator at Jharkhand, SB Singh said the wicket at Ranchi will help both bowlers as well as batsmen and will certainly last for five days.

Virat Kohli, Kohli, ashwin, ravichandran ashwin, india vs australia, indian cricket team, indian test team, ind vs aus, india vs australia test seriesIndia vs Australia: Virat Kohli has urged both the sides to leave controversies behind and focus on cricket. (Source: PTI)

The ongoing series between India and Australia is living up to all the expectations and hype around it. After an astonishing 333-run victory in Pune, the flying visitors were brought back to Earth by a spirited Indian side in Bengaluru. However, there has been more focus on other things than the cricket so far, something that both captains would like to change. In Pune, the talk was about a dusty pitch that came under scrutiny while in Bengaluru, the heat got better of both the sides. Virat Kohli sparked another controversy in his post-match conference where he stopped short of calling Steven Smith a cheat.

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Now, as the teams move to Ranchi and the city gears up for its first ever Test, the spotlight is once again on the pitch. The pitch curator at Jharkhand, SB Singh said the wicket at Ranchi will help both bowlers as well as batsmen and will certainly last for five days. History reckons that Ranchi has always offered slower tracks and India would be happy to know that. Their star spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin came to form in the last Test and pulled off a magical spell in the second innings.

Here is what Virat Kohli had to say in his press conference:

The batsmen also looked good as KL Rahul scored half-centuries in both the innings while Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara added a match-winning partnership in the second innings. Murali Vijay is now fit and will replace Abhinav Mukund in the playing XI. Virat Kohli is the only India batsman who has failed to get going so far and Ranchi may be up for a Kohli special.

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As far as Australia is concerned, there are other reasons to worry about as well. A lot has changed since the last Test. Their key bowler, Mitchell Starc, who was actually proving a more than handy batsman as well, has been ruled out of the series due to an injury. To make things worse, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is injured too which brings the limited overs specialists, Glen Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis into the limelight. Playing Maxwell won’t be a bad bet for the Aussies as he can prove to be a useful off-spinner too.

Cheteshwar Pujara talks about his preparation for Bengaluru Test:

While addressing the media before the match, Kohli said, “A lot has been given into the incident. It’s time we focused on the remainder of the series. There’s lot of cricket to be played and it should not happen in bad taste. What’s happened in Bengaluru happened in Bengaluru, we are in Ranchi and we should look forward to tomorrow.”

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Squads:

India – Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.

Australia – Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O’Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

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