The home side are likely to rotate through their pace bowlers during the series
India have won the last four days of this multi-format series and if it hadn’t been for a borderline no-ball in the second ODI it would have been them, not Australia, heading into the decisive T20Is with a 6-4 advantage.
After an opening encounter in Mackay where Australia strolled to victory this has developed into a gripping contest with the home side challenged across all areas of their game. The absence of Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen from the bowling attack has been keenly felt while Rachael Haynes’ departure has altered the balance of the side.
It would be stretching things to say Australia have been shaken by the last few days of cricket but it has made the series all the more compelling. Holding the points lead means they need to win just one of three T20Is to ensure they can’t be overtaken but a series victory will be their only pass mark.
“[India] have players who can take you down and also really good depth in their squad,” Lanning said. “We were expecting a really tough challenge from them and we’ve certainly got that. It’s a good test for our group.
“Everyone found the last week of the Test a challenge in different ways. It’s a format we don’t play a lot and have experience in different situations. You have so many unknowns and aren’t really sure how to approach situations if you haven’t been there before. Now coming into the T20 format it’s something we know reasonably well and everyone is pretty clear on what their role is.”
Australia’s Test side felt overweighted with bowling options but they are set to fill Haynes’ absence with an allrounder again rather than Georgia Redmayne.
“All our allrounders are pretty good with the bat, they could be batters in their own right, so that’s a bit of a luxury for us,” Lanning said. “Balance is important, having that variety with the ball is important and matching that with conditions. We feel like we have really good depth in those areas, just need to make sure we get those selections right.”
Catching was a problem for both teams during the Test match and Australia’s fielding was not at its usual standard during the final ODI either. The lights will have taken full effect by the time the T20Is start so there won’t be the awkward twilight period to negotiate, while it will be a white ball against the red seats instead of a pink one.
“It was a challenge in the twilight period, but not really an excuse and I was the prime culprit in dropping a lot of those,” Lanning said. “They were ones we should have taken. Certainly looking to be better in the field, even in the ODIs we didn’t quite nail it. It’s something we pride ourselves on.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo