Australia vs India, 3rd ODI, Preview: Teams brace up for another close contest to end a gruelling tour
India have the momentum while Australia have records on their side going into the concluding game of the tour.
Published - Jan 17, 2019 2:24 pm | Updated - Jan 17, 2019 2:24 pm
Finally, the long and gruelling India’s tour of Australia is coming to the conclusion with a series decider at the iconic MCG on Friday. After going down at Sydney, the visitors came back strongly by gunning down the second-best chase in Adelaide and levelled the series. World Cup still remains the focus for both the teams as they will eye a series win and for India, if they manage to do it, it will be a rare successful tour down under. They’ve never won both the Test and ODI series together before in Australia.
The Men in Blue ticked a few boxes in the second game with MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik managing to finish a tense chase. Virat Kohli did what he usually does, scored a century, while Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have also provided the team with a quickfire start. Ambati Rayudu is the only one to struggle so far and he will be itching to get going. The third pace bowler has been an issue for a long time now and it continues to haunt India.
Aaron Finch’s form has been a worry for Australia. The middle-order is bailing the team out of trouble in the last two matches despite poor starts. If Finch and Alex Carey get off the blocks quickly, it certainly will change things drastically for the hosts. The form of Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell have been the biggest positives so far while the bowling attack has seen Jhye Richardson grow very fast.
Australia have made two changes to their playing XI. They have brought back Adam Zampa with Nathan Lyon making way for him and Billy Stanlake is also back thanks to Jason Behrendorff’s injury. Peter Siddle gets another opportunity to prove his mettle after an ordinary comeback so far while Richardson needs to show that his Man of the Match performance in Sydney wasn’t one-off.
The batting isn’t a major concern for the Men in Yellow at the moment. Only the openers will have to give them a good start after which the middle-order will take care of posting a big total.
Playing XI: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake.
India have indicated that they will make a few changes to their team as well to test the players in different circumstances. Vijay Shankar‘s name was mentioned after the last match by Kohli and he might get a game ahead of Ravindra Jadeja which will open the doors for Yuzvendra Chahal to play with the long boundaries at the MCG. Mohammed Siraj might have to sit out after a poor ODI debut.
The top six has done well so far and all of them have got a decent hit in the middle. Only Rayudu needs to grab the opportunity now and the management doesn’t seem too worried about his form.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar/Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal/Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami.
Focus will be on
Aaron Finch (Australia)
Finch has been going through a rough patch in his career at the moment. Since the T20Is against Pakistan in the UAE, he hasn’t done anything out of ordinary at the top across the formats. With two failures in the series and as a captain, the pressure will be piling up on him and what better than regaining the form in the decider? A solid knock in Melbourne will do a world of good for his confidence and no wonder all the eyes will be on him.
Ambati Rayudu (India)
Has Rayudu sealed the number four slot? After Windies series, the answer was a confident yes but after two poor outings in this series, there are question marks over his skills. There is no doubt that the Hyderabad batsman is a gifted cricketer but he needs to be more consistent as India would love not to ponder on the middle-order issue once again.
Head to Head
Matches – 130 | Australia won – 74 | India won – 46 | NR – 10
Matches – 50 | Australia won – 36 | India won – 12 | NR – 2
72 – Shikhar Dhawan has a batting average of 72 in bilateral ODI series-deciders. The left-hander has scored 432 runs in seven innings including two centuries and two fifties.
3 – Mohammed Shami needs only three wickets to become the fastest Indian bowler in ODIs to 100 scalps.
TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings – 08:50 IST; 13:50 local
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