Australian skipper Pat Cummins expects a “huge connection” between the conditions during the third and final Test against South Africa at Sydney and what his side will face during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India in its subcontinent conditions. Australia and South Africa will meet for the final Test at the iconic grounds of the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
Aussies will have to make some tricky decisions about team balance for the SCG match as all-rounder Cameron Green, who provides balance with his all-around abilities, is injured and ruled out. Selectors are pushing hard to include Ashton Agar as the second spinner, but reverse swing is likely to be a factor in the match. Also, Australia is aiming to win big in India for the first time since 2004. “It is a huge connection to India,” Cummins said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo, while not revealing the final playing eleven for the SCG Test.
“Fast bowling and reverse swing are going to come into it, which we can expect in India. Probably get more spin overs here, and our batters are probably going to face more spin here as well. So it is a really good connection.” “Even personally captaining here might be a little different to the last few Test matches. So it is a really good prep (for Border-Gavaskar Trophy). Whatever you do there is going to be a strong connection to India, which is nice. It is not by purpose, it’s just worked out that way,” concluded Cummins.
If Agar play, having last played the format back in 2017, it will be for the first time since 2016-17 that Australia is including two frontline spinners in a home Test. He can also expect to be a part of the tour to India alongside Nathan Lyon. The squad could include more spinners like Mitchell Swepson and uncapped Todd Murphy. There is an effort to return SCG pitches to something more akin to what they were traditional, spin-friendly. This year, the nature of the surface has been determined by the weather and volume of cricket played. In a Sheffield Shield match played on SCG this season, 23 out of 40 wickets went to spin bowlers. “We are hoping for a traditional SCG pitch,” curator Adam Lewis said.
“It is not quite what we have seen in the past few years. A few of the players have told me it looks like a wicket from about 10 years ago, which gave me a bit of confidence. It is thin on grass, a bit patchy, and probably not the best-looking pitch that we have seen, but we are looking forward to it and we have done the best we can,” added the curator.
Australia is on verge of whitewashing South Africa, already leading the series 2-0. The next seven months will determine how they will be remembered. The team will be rated highly if they win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, ICC Test Championship, and The Ashes.
“We have got a huge year ahead,” he said. “I think even in these three weeks it might be a good time to pause and think about what a great 12 months it’s been for this team. Pakistan and Sri Lanka were two really good subcontinent tours with a third one in India to come. 2023 is going to be a big year,” concluded Cummins.