India Aim To End Tour With First Bilateral ODI Series Win against troubled Australia
India's tour Down under finally comes to a close at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday. A self-confident Team India are eyeing a maiden bilateral One-Day International (ODI) series triumph on Australian soil after their historic test conquest when they take on the hosts in the tour finale at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The three-match series is presently tied at 1-1. Interestingly, the ongoing three-match affair is barely the second bilateral ODI series India have to contend in Australia, losing 4-1 in 2016. Also, by winning the third ODI in Melbourne, India can finish the present 2018-19 tour without losing a series Down under.
While India will take winning momentum into the third ODI, their only worry at the moment is that the fifth bowling option. Up to now in the series, senior pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are impressive, whereas the 2 left-arm spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja have provided control and breakthroughs in the middle overs.
If Hardik Pandya hadn't been sent home, India would have preferred going in with 2 wrist spinners for all 3 ODIs like did for many of 2018 when playing far from home. While it is a sign of how crucial Pandya is for their World Cup plans, it additionally tells you how he is the only irreplaceable member of this side. Ravindra Jadeja hasn't set the world blazing with either bat or ball, and India can be got to rejig a number of positions if they're keen on bringing in the attacking option of Yuzvendra Chahal for the final ODI. It would not be a bad move to give Vijay Shankar a go at No.7 in place of Mohammed Siraj and thereby letting Chahal come in for Jadeja. Shankar provides the third seam bowling option, and as an extra batter, elongates the batting line-up. However, the argument against Shankar is whether or not the Indian team management will trust him enough to deliver 10 overs on ODI debut.
That might open the door for Kedar Jadhav to get his 1st game, and also the only person he looks good to replace is Ambati Rayudu, who's struggled at No.4.
The bigger boundaries at the MCG and Chahal's ability to bowl economical and attacking spells also as using the new ball within the first ten overs can be a factor in his favor. If Kohli will decide Shankar for his ODI debut, it'd disturb the set batting line-up and create space for Kedar Jadhav. The fifth bowler's ten overs can then be divided between Jadhav and Shankar. This move would mean one among Ambati Rayudu or Dinesh Karthik is going to be left out.
Australia did an India from the test series in terms of their selection on Thursday. Minutes once finch raved about how good Nathan Lyon had been in the initial 2 ODIs, the Aussies' lead test spinner was drop from the squad with leggie Adam Zampa replacing him in the playing XI. Jason Behrendorff too is about to miss out owing to a nasty back 2 nights after having become the latest victim of the MS Dhoni last-over six sentence. Billy Stanlake is a tall enough replacement, and will somewhat be the X-factor that the Aussies want in a bowling attack that has blown hot and cold.
The hosts are going to be worried about lack of runs from their opening pair, finch and Alex Carey, with their middle-order having to do the bull work in the last 2 matches. Australia has won 9 out of the 14 ODIs contend against India at the MCG, and it should inspire them on Friday as they're still on the cusp of winning their 1st ODI series since January 2017.
When: Australia v India, 3rd ODI, January 18, 01.20 pm Local, 07:50 am IST
Where: MCG, Melbourne
India (Probable Xl): Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch, Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake.