Jos Buttler feels England's tour of India served the team well despite series defeats in the Tests, Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs.

England won the Test opener but went down 3-1 over four matches, while they twice led a five-match T20 series before a 3-2 loss.

The tourists were always chasing in the ODIs, both across the series – after India's opening win – and in all three matches, as they bowled first on each occasion.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes led a superb victory in the second ODI, but Sunday's decider saw India edge to a seven-run victory despite the best efforts of Sam Curran, who equalled the highest score for a batsman coming in at eight in an ODI with an unbeaten 95.

Defeat meant England have still only won one multi-game bilateral ODI series in India, losing the past six in a row.

The world champions have also been beaten in back-to-back series for the first time since a run of three in 2014 (two against Sri Lanka and one versus India).

But stand-in captain Buttler, who was defeated for just the third time as skipper in ODIs, maintained a positive outlook going forward.

"We've been a brilliant side for a long period of time now," he said. "I think we lost those two series [the T20s and ODIs], but that's two losses in our last 11 series.

"So, we're still a very good side, expanding that talent pool. There's been a few guys obviously missing from this side and guys coming in to have opportunities, which is fantastic.

"And that's been a big part of us getting better and better as a side. We never want to put limitations on what we're capable of. We'll continue to try to push the boundaries and strive to do that.

"And I think the exposure of players coming in and continuing to play in that fashion that we expect is great.

"Expanding that talent pool and pushing each other from within and building the strength in the squad, and the competition for places in the XI, is only going to continue to improve our side.

"So of course, it's again a long cycle looking ahead to a World Cup, but we always want to learn, and you want to win at the same time. We're of course disappointed when we don't do that.

"But of course, there are big pictures moving forward and we'll continue to be a very good side.

"There's more and more experience in guys, a lot of guys, in and around 100 caps as well. So, the experience in the squad is huge, and the exposure for other guys coming in is vital as well.

"I think we're in a really good place as a side."

England have a packed schedule this year before heading back to India in October for the World Twenty20, a tournament in which they were beaten in the final in dramatic fashion five years ago.

Buttler added: "We came here wanting to win. We play the game to win matches and to win series.

"And in the must-win games at the end of these T20 or one-dayers, we haven't quite managed to do that. So of course, we were disappointed with that.

"But there'll be some great learnings taken from the tour, some great exposure to players playing in this part of the world for the first time.

"I think once again expanding the talent pool available to us in one-day cricket, building ahead to the T20 World Cup in a few months' time and of course the 2023 World Cup later on down the line here as well.

"So, any time we expand that player pool, that creates competition, that creates better performance and that's the upward trajectory that we're always after as a side, that continuous improvement."

Virat Kohli has revealed he will open the batting during the upcoming Indian Premier League season as he prepares to take on that role for India in the Twenty20 World Cup later this year.

The 32-year-old was named at the top of the Indian order in a T20 international for just the second time since 2018 ahead of Saturday's series decider against England.

That decision paid off handsomely as Kohli struck an unbeaten 80 off 52 balls to help his country to a huge total of 224 and, ultimately, a 36-run victory that clinched a 3-2 series win.

And the captain explained after the match that he is planning to continue in an opening role for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL next month, with one eye on doing the same for India when they host the T20 World Cup in October.

"I am going to open in the IPL as well," he told Star Sports.

"Look, I've batted at different positions in the past, but I feel like we do have a very solid middle order now, and now it's about your two best players getting the maximum number of balls in T20 cricket. So I would definitely like to partner Rohit at the top.

"As I rightly said, if we have a partnership and we both are set, then you know that one of us is going to cause some serious damage. That's exactly what we want. 

"And the other guys feel much more confident when one of us is still in and set, they know that they can play more freely. 

"It augurs well for the team and I would like this to continue, and hopefully continue that form through to the World Cup."

Kohli also revealed that India's preparations for the T20 World Cup will be aided by a number of short-form games against England to be played after their scheduled Test series in August and September.

He added: "I just found out that we might have some more after the Test series against England.

"[We are] more or less sorted [in terms of who will make the squad]. We are very very confident. Very happy with how things have panned out. We just want to keep moving forward with more positivity and fearlessness."

India clinched a 3-2 Twenty20 series victory over England after coming out on top in a high-scoring decider at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The hosts triumphed by 36 runs as they prevailed for a second successive outing after being put into bat by visiting skipper Eoin Morgan, with the previous encounters all won by the team chasing.

Captain Virat Kohli – shifted up to open – led the way with 80 not out as India amassed 224-2, their fourth highest total in the shortest format.

Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan both made half-centuries as England raced out of the blocks in reply, yet their chase ran out of steam. Unable to hit boundaries regularly when it mattered, they finished up on 188-8.

India had also made a fast start when they batted thanks mainly to Rohit Sharma. He dominated an opening partnership worth 94, belatedly making a major contribution in the series with 64 from just 34 deliveries.

Ben Stokes finally ended the initial onslaught thanks to an inside edge onto the stumps, though there was little respite for England's bowlers as the runs continued to flow.

Suryakumar Yadav (32) wasted little time in going on the attack, hitting the second and third deliveries he faced during an Adil Rashid over for six, though the leg-spinner would later dismiss the right-hander thanks to a stunning catch in the deep.

Jason Roy ended up holding the ball, though his role was a minor one. Chris Jordan had taken a superb one-handed effort on the run from long-on, then passed it on to his waiting team-mate before stepping over the boundary.

Still, Hardik Pandya capitalised on his promotion up to four with 39 not out, combining with Kohli to add 81. Mark Wood and Chris Jordan both registered unwanted half-centuries with the ball, while Jofra Archer finished with 0-43 from his four overs.

England lost Jason Roy for a duck in the first over, yet Buttler and Malan made 52 and 68 respectively to keep the game firmly in the balance.

However, amid the run-scoring carnage, Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 2-15, including the crucial wicket of Buttler. The seam bowler's economical four overs helped put the brakes on England, who were 104-1 at the halfway stage before slipping off the pace.

World Cup on the horizon

The top two-ranked nations in T20 cricket did not disappoint in a series that offered the opportunity to explore options ahead of the World Cup on Indian soil later this year.

Kohli finished up averaging 115.5, yet new faces Yadav and Ishan Kishan also caught the eye for India with the bat. Similarly, Malan – who became the fastest player to 1,000 international runs in the format – showed in the finale how he can change his approach, depending on the match situation.

Jordan goes the distance

Not for the first time in his career, Jordan produced a sensational catch, this time to see off Yadav. However, while a fantastic asset in the field, he has struggled to have an impact with the ball in the five games.

Between overs 17-20, Jordan has been hit for eight sixes in the series. That is five more than the rest of the England attack combined, while an economy rate of 13.5 in that period will be a concern for captain Morgan.

England's bowlers produced an outstanding performance to lay the platform for an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International against India.

The tourists were bamboozled by spin to lose the Test series but found a pitch much more to their liking at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a venue where they twice suffered heavy defeats to go down 3-1 in the longest format.

Jofra Archer led the way with figures of 3-23 as India – who host the ICC T20 World Cup later this year – were restricted to 124-7 after being put in by visiting captain Eoin Morgan.

England had no such problems in their reply, Jason Roy smashing 49 off 32 deliveries to help wrap up victory with 27 balls to spare. 

Jos Buttler contributed 28 in an opening partnership worth 72 with Roy, who hit three sixes before being trapped lbw by Washington Sundar, one of three frontline spinners selected by the hosts for the opener in a five-match series. 

By contrast, England fielded a solitary slow bowler in their XI. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1-14) claimed the prized scalp of Virat Kohli for a duck having opened the bowling in a T20 at international level for the first time. 

Archer and Mark Wood (1-20) also struck early blows as India limped along to 22-3 by the end of the batting powerplay. Shreyas Iyer led a recovery of sorts, top-scoring with 67, but their final total never appeared enough at the halfway point. 

Rishabh Pant (21) thrilled the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep off Archer that went for six, yet could only pick out Jonny Bairstow when he flicked a full delivery from Ben Stokes into the deep. 

Iyer and Hardik Pandya (19) shared a half-century stand having come together at 48-4, only for the latter to become the first of two wickets in as many deliveries from the excellent Archer. 

England made sure there were no complications in the chase with a powerplay onslaught from their openers, allowing Dawid Malan and Bairstow to ease them to their paltry target, the duo finishing unbeaten on 24 and 26 not out respectively. 

South Africa have announced the appointment of Dean Elgar as Test captain, while Temba Bavuma is to take charge of the Proteas in limited-overs cricket.  

The announcement of the duo to their respective roles comes after Quinton de Kock had led South Africa in all formats on a temporary basis, though Heinrich Klaasen was in charge for last month’s Twenty20 series in Pakistan due to the wicketkeeper-batsman's absence.  

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith thanked De Kock for his efforts as skipper, while made clear he will continue to play an “integral role” as part of the leadership group.  

Opening batsman Elgar – who has played 67 Tests and scored 13 hundreds in the format - will be skipper through the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.  

Bavuma, meanwhile, is to lead South Africa in the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cup tournaments, as well as the next 50-over World Cup, which takes place in India in 2023. He will also serve as vice-captain in Test cricket, too.

"We as CSA are pleased with the appointments of Temba and Dean and believe that we have the men who will lead the Proteas back to their winning ways of old," Smith said in a statement. 

"The pair bring the required stability in both leadership and form to turn the ship in the direction that will eventually bring trophies back to the cabinets. 

"Temba has been a strong and influential voice in the team in recent times and has shown consistency on the field in all formats, solidifying his place as a leader. He also has the trust and backing of the players and coaches around him.” 

On Elgar, he added: “Dean has made no secret of his Test captaincy ambitions over the years and we are pleased to have a leader who is ready, willing and able to step up to the massive task of turning our Test cricket fortunes around.  

"His role as a leader in the Test team has never been in doubt and I know that he relishes the prospect of captaining the Test team. We are confident that he will bring the same grit and determination to his captaincy as he has brought to his many performances on the field over many years."

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted he contemplated retirement from international cricket but could not turn down the call to don the colours of the regional team once again.

Gayle, now 41, had initially announced his intention to retire following the 2019 ICC World Cup.  The player then targeted the One Day International series against India, shortly after the World Cup, as possibly his final hurrah.  Following a standing ovation received following the series, the batsman seemed to have a change of heart.

Two years later, however, the batsman has found himself in fine form and, on the back of an outstanding IPL campaign for Punjab Kings, could once again prove a major force for the West Indies with the ICC World T20 tournament on the horizon.  As such, the player was recalled to the T20 squad as the team begins a series of matches that will lead up to defending its title in India.

“Back then I thought about actually walking away from the game and people said, no, don’t do it, stay and play for as long as possible.  I decided I would actually continue playing the game of cricket,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“I wasn’t looking down this road.  I thought of playing franchise cricket and exploiting my talent to entertain the people as much as possible.  When I got the call and they asked if I was willing and interested, I said yes. Once I’m playing for the West Indies that’s where my heart is.  I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket,” he added.

“I decided I was full-on, I was actually in a tournament and they said ‘you know Chris this is the structure we have in place, so we need you to be a part of it, we need you to fit into what is basically set for the team, so I basically agreed to it.  I came back from Pakistan to be part of the set-up leading into the World Cup.”   

Mark Wood revealed he withdrew from the Indian Premier League auction so he could spend time with his family and to ensure he was not "goosed mentally or physically" in a big year for England.

Wood had put himself forward for an IPL stint at the highest base price (2 crore/£200,000), but opted out on the eve of the auction this week.

The paceman's decision came after he flew to India for the remainder of the Test series, five Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs.

Wood, who was given time off after the Sri Lanka tour last month, says playing for England in his priority, with the T20 World Cup and an Ashes series in Australia to come after a busy summer on home soil - including facing India again.

The quick said: "I'm going to spend six weeks here in India and then it would be another eight weeks on top of that, so that's 14 weeks.

"We're in a strange situation with COVID and unfortunately you can't see your families during that winter period coming out with India, like we usually do. 

"I just wanted to be able to switch off, recharge and go back home for the second reason, which is being ready for England. 

"I've tried to prioritise that and think later on in the year we've got loads of cricket going on and I don't want my body to fail me or be a bit goosed mentally or physically going into the back of the year, with a World Cup, Ashes and big series against India at home.

"I wanted to make sure I was ready from that point of view and have some family time because this block is a long time away from home."

England all-rounder Moeen Ali was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings for £700,000 on Thursday and although Wood knows he may have missed out on a lucrative deal, the 31-year-old hopes to get another chance to play in the IPL.

"Obviously there's been some big names gone for some big money and never begrudge them that, I think it's life-changing money, so it was a difficult decision for me," he said on Friday.

"The plus side is you're not just going for money reasons, you want to prove [yourself] hopefully going into the World T20 and learn some skills. Plus I feel like I've got a little bit of unfinished business with the IPL, I feel like I didn't do very well well in one game for Chennai last time [in 2018].

"I'd like another crack at some point, I just didn't feel like the time was right. Every player has their own decision, but for me it was to prioritise my family and England."

Dwaine Pretorius starred with bowling figures of 5-17 as South Africa cruised to a six-wicket win over Pakistan to level their T20I series at 1-1. 

The Proteas fell three runs short in the first match on Thursday but comfortably chased down a smaller target of 145 this time around. 

David Miller (25 not out) and stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen (17no) ensured South Africa reached their total with 22 balls to spare on Saturday. 

That came after Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon both scored 42 to set the platform. 

Pretorius had earlier wreaked havoc as Pakistan struggled to 144-7 despite an innings of 51 from in-form opener Mohammad Rizwan, who scored a century in the opening meeting. 

The series will be decided in Sunday's third and final game, which will also take place in Lahore.

South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl, a decision which led to an ideal start when Pakistan captain Babar Azam (5) was trapped lbw by Pretorius from the eighth delivery of the innings. 

Babar reviewed the decision but the ball was crashing into middle and leg. 

After Haider Ali (10) and Hussain Talat (3) fell cheaply, Rizwan – who hit six fours and one six – built a partnership of 45 with Iftikhar Ahmed (20). 

However, those runs came at slower than a run per ball, with Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi (1-16) and JJ Smuts (0-20) all producing economical four-over spells. 

Even a quickfire 30 in just 12 balls from Faheem Ashraf could not get the hosts above 150. 

It looked like the sub-par total might be enough when Shaheen Afridi (2-18) removed Janneman Malan (4) and Smuts (7) inside 14 deliveries of South Africa’s reply. 

But Hendricks and Van Biljon combined for five maximums in a decisive partnership worth 77. 

Neither of them could see the innings through to its conclusion, but the outcome was no longer in doubt and Miller finished it off with a huge six and then a single off Iftikhar.

Mohammad Rizwan struck a brilliant century before Pakistan held their nerve with the ball to win the Twenty20 series opener against South Africa by three runs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan had registered his maiden Test ton against the same opposition last week, with his knock of 115 not out helping the hosts seal a 2-0 sweep in Rawalpindi. 

Promoted up the order to open in the T20 side in Lahore, the right-hander hit six fours and seven of his team's 11 sixes as he finished up unbeaten on 104 out of a total of 169-6.

His 64-ball knock helped Pakistan recover from the early setback of losing Babar Azam to the second ball of their innings, the captain run out without scoring thanks to a stunning direct hit by bowler Bjorn Fortuin at the non-striker's end. 

Yet South Africa's fielding did not live up to the same standards for the remainder of the innings; they dropped Rizwan twice, allowing the him to record only Pakistan's second century in the shortest format. 

Tabraiz Shamsi – who did not feature in the recent Test series due to a back injury – was the pick of the attack with 1-20 for an understrength South Africa, who started promisingly in reply thanks to 44 from Janneman Malan.

Usman Qadir dismissed both Malan and debutant Jacques Snyman as he claimed 2-21, though the visitors were still in with a chance when requiring 48 from the final four overs with six wickets in hand.

Hendricks (54) had overcome a quiet start to reach a valiant half-century, but Rizwan put an end to his innings with a sharp piece of fielding, picking up the ball and then diving into the stumps.

Left needing six from the final delivery, Fortuin was only able to squeeze a full ball from Faheem Ashraf out to deep square leg, meaning the Proteas – led by stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen – came up just short.

The teams will conclude the three-match series with a double-header this weekend at the same venue.

England have named Liam Livingstone in a 16-man squad for the Twenty20 series against India in March, but Test captain Joe Root and Alex Hales were not included.

Livingstone has not played international cricket since June 2017, when he scored 16 runs in a pair of T20 appearances against South Africa on English soil.

However, the 27-year-old was part of the group for the one-day series at home to Ireland last year, as well as the tour to South Africa that was cut short in December due to coronavirus concerns.

His selection comes after an impressive Big Bash tournament in Australia, though Hales – who finished as the competition's leading scorer, managing 543 at a strike-rate of 161.60 for Sydney Thunder – continues to be overlooked by the national selectors.

Root is also not included for the five-match series that offers Eoin Morgan's side further opportunities to prepare ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which takes place in India during October and November.

Jos Buttler – who has returned home for a scheduled break after helping England win the first Test against India in Chennai – will travel back for the white-ball games.

As well as the players in the squad, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Jake Ball and Matt Parkinson as reserves. The party will depart on February 26, with all games to be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.


England T20 squad for the tour to India: 

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Jake Ball, Matt Parkinson.

South Africa will be hoping some fresh faces can lead to a change in fortunes in Pakistan as the two nations switch focus to the Twenty20 format. 

Lahore will stage all three matches in the series, which comes after Pakistan recorded a 2-0 sweep over the same opponents in Test action. 

However, many of the Proteas who featured in that series are not involved in the T20 fixtures, including captain Quinton de Kock. 

Heinrich Klaasen is instead in charge for the tourists, while Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde are the only members of the squad who have stayed on after Test duty. 

The stand-in skipper insists that while South Africa may be lacking in experience, those on duty are determined to seize the opportunities that come their way during the trip. 

"South Africa has got loads of talent, which people sometimes don't see because we only have six franchises," Klaasen said. "We are by no means a second-string T20 squad, and we are looking to win." 

Klaasen revealed he is now "fit and safe" after overcoming COVID-19, though it took a heavy toll on him physically. He put up an Instagram post during his recovery to make clear the effects of the virus, in which he wrote: "Covid is real and didn't think it would be this hard to come back". 

As for Pakistan, they have named a 20-man squad that includes four uncapped players but is missing Mohammad Hafeez, who failed to come to an agreement over the date he was to enter the group's bio-secure bubble. 

Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz are also notable absentees having been dropped, while Shadab Khan is ruled out through injury. 

Zafar Gohar, Danish Aziz, Zahid Mehmood and Amad Butt are the quartet of new faces, while Hasan Ali – the hero for the hosts in the second Test with 10 wickets in the match – is back involved again in the shortest format.

Pakistan go into the opening game on Thursday having won 14 of their previous 18 T20 matches on home soil (L4), including the last five in a row.


Babar right up there with the best

No matter what the format, Babar Azam is crucial to Pakistan. The right-handed batsman has scored the most amount of runs in T20 cricket at international level since the start of 2018, managing 1,213 across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.

After a relatively quiet Test series in terms of his individual output, Babar will be eager to capitalise on a new-look South African attack that is without the services of pace trio Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.

Positive spin to help Proteas

Shamsi is one of the few who has remained for the T20 series; the left-arm wrist spinner was ruled out of the first Test with a back injury and then did not feature in the second match.

The 30-year-old has played in 25 T20 games for South Africa, taking 21 wickets at 33.33 with an economy rate of 7.69 runs per over, and has the chance to become a pivotal member of the XI, particularly with a World Cup in the format to come in India later this year.

Key series facts

- South Africa have never lost a multi-game bilateral T20 series in Asia, winning five times out of a possible six in the continent (D1).
- Since the start of 2018, Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (18 catches and five stumpings) has been directly involved in the joint-most T20 dismissals among those featuring for a Test-playing nation (23 – level with Alex Carey and Tim Seifert).
- Since the start of 2018, Babar Azam has scored the most runs in the T20 format, managing 1,213 runs across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.
- Only David Miller from the current Proteas squad has played a T20 international game in Pakistan, having represented the World XI in 2017. He has logged 20 catches in the format since the start of 2018, the third-most of those to feature for a Test-playing nation.
- Faheem Ashraf recorded more dot balls than any other player during the T20 series against New Zealand in December 2020). He has only been able to claim four wickets at an average of 41.3 in Pakistan, however.

India blitzed a second-string Australia in Sunday's second T20 international to win by six wickets and claim an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

Australia, without David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and captain Aaron Finch, posted 194-5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The tourists, who won Friday's series opener by 11 runs, initially struggled to chase down their target but Hardik Pandya inspired them to a thrilling victory.

Australia were put in to bat first and Matthew Wade, named skipper in Finch's absence, made steady progress by hitting a swift half-century.

But Wade was sent packing in comical fashion after Virat Kohli dropped a catch before redeeming himself by running out his counterpart for 58.

D'Arcy Short (9) and Glenn Maxwell (22) were caught by Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar respectively either side of Wade's exit as Australia looked for some momentum.

Steve Smith fell just short of a half-century, managing 46 runs from 38 balls before being caught by Pandya, while Moises Henriques was caught behind soon after for 26.

India were set a target of 195 after Marcus Stoinis put 16 more runs on the board and they looked to have given themselves too much to do.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan scored 30 and 52 respectively, both men being taken by Mitchell Swepson, before Sanju Samson slapped straight to Smith at long-off.

Pandya's impressive batting got India, who required 72 runs off 36 balls on one point, back on track with his three fours and two sixes, either side of Kohli's departure for 40.

Joined at the crease by Iyer (12 not out) for a gripping conclusion, Pandya finished with an unbeaten 22-ball 42 to get his side over the line for a series victory with two balls to spare.

The final game of the three-match series takes place in Sydney on Tuesday, before a four-Test series starts on 17 December in Adelaide.

Ravindra Jadeja's explosive lower-order hitting helped India to an 11-run victory over Australia in their Twenty20 series opener.

Jadeja scored 44 off 23 balls in Canberra as the tourists posted 161-7 before restricting Australia to 150-7 in response.

KL Rahul had laid some firm foundations as the opener put on a measured 51 to mitigate the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan, who contributed only one run.

The hosts also kept a lid on Virat Kohli, the India captain caught and bowled by Mitchell Swepson for nine.

Jadeja came to the crease with his side 92-5 in the 14th over and bludgeoned five fours and a six to lift India to a solid total.

He was struck on the helmet in the final over by a Mitchell Starc delivery and, though he initially continued, was replaced by concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal instead of taking to the field.

Australia's reply looked to be coming along nicely as D'Arcy Short (34) and Aaron Finch (35) put on 56 for the first wicket. 

Hardik Pandya catches ultimately accounted for both, with dangerous duo Glenn Maxwell (2) and Steve Smith (12) unable to stick around for long.

Moises Henriques' 30 off 20 raised hopes of a revival, but some excellent bowling from Thangarasu Natarajan (3-30) and Chahal (3-25) kept Australia at bay.

The sides meet again in Sydney on Sunday in the second game of a three-match series.

Australia will have to do without "all-time great" David Warner as they take on India in a three-match Twenty20 series. 

Just 48 hours after completing the third and final one-dayer, the two nations must quickly switch their focus to the shortest format. 

Manuka Oval in Canberra stages the opening T20 on Friday before the teams complete the series in Sydney, which hosted the first two ODI fixtures – both won by the home team.

However, Australia lost the finale when without the services of Warner, who is dealing with a groin injury that leaves him battling to be fit for the upcoming Tests against the same opponents.

Captain Aaron Finch admits it is never easy to be without a player of Warner's abilities, albeit the opening batsman's absence offers an opportunity for others with next year's T20 World Cup looming large on the horizon.

"It would be great to have him available, no doubt. But these things happen. Injuries happen. He's an all-time great in one-day cricket, in T20 cricket," Finch said after the third ODI. 

"I don't think there's many better players to have played the game, so any team that he is not a part of is going to be slightly weaker, I think. But we have got guys who can step up and really contribute heavily in that role as well." 

India will be hosting next year's global tournament after the 2020 edition, due to take place on Australian soil, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Virat Kohli leads the tourists but will not be present for the entire Test series that follows; India's skipper is to return home after the opening game to be present at the birth of his first child. 

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS 

It is not just Warner missing for Australia; pace bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins is also set to be absent, while Mitchell Marsh is ruled out. 

Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, is nursing a side strain and Mitchell Starc was not risked in the third and final one-dayer due to a back issue. 

Andrew Tye had already replaced Kane Richardson in the squad while Cameron Green – fresh from making his international debut on Wednesday – could be given further chances for the home side, who will be wearing Indigenous shirts for all three games.

Glenn Maxwell is available too – and is in excellent form with the bat. He posted scores of 45 or more in each of his three knocks in the 50-over games.

RAHUL RIGHT IN FORM

India have a decision to make at the top of the order with Rohit Sharma not available. 

KL Rahul could be used there after an outstanding Indian Premier League season with King's XI Punjab, as he finished the 2020 tournament as the competition's leading run-scorer.

The right-hander has also amassed more runs in T20 international cricket since 2019 than any other batsman from a Test-playing nation, managing 452 at a stunning average of 75.3.

Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, is in contention to make his 50th T20 appearance for India, a milestone only seven other players have achieved for the country.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Australia can record three multi-game bilateral T20 series victories on the bounce at home for the first time, having defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan on home soil in 2019.
- India have registered five victories in their past six T20 outings in Australia (L1); all eight fixtures between these sides in the country have been won after losing the toss.
- Australia have only been involved in one previous men's T20 fixture at Manuka Oval, beating Pakistan by a margin of seven wickets with nine balls remaining in November 2019.
- Kohli has scored more runs in men's T20 games between these sides than anyone else (584); that is the most ever registered against a single opponent in the history of the format.

Dwayne Bravo became the first player to take 500 Twenty20 wickets when he claimed the scalp of Rahkeem Cornwall on Wednesday.

Bravo brought up the landmark while playing for Trinbago Knight Riders in a Caribbean Premier League match against St Lucia Zouks.

He had a helping hand from Colin Munro, quite literally as he took a fine low catch after Cornwall miscued an attempted drive off a full delivery outside off stump.

Former Windies captain Bravo, who came out of T20 international retirement last December, has accumulated his incredible haul while playing for 23 different sides across 14 years.

Lasith Malinga is Bravo's nearest challenger on 390 T20 wickets.

Bravo memorably took 3-37 in the Windies' dramatic T20 World Cup final win over England in 2016.

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