It appears that Australia’s experiment to test their youth out in this five match series against India has backfired significantly, the batting collapses being the biggest problem to resolve before they dig themselves into an even bigger hole.
As far as Virat Kohli and his troops are concerned, they’ve got Australia right where they would’ve wanted them at the beginning of the series, a 2-0 lead heading into this third ODI where they remain a huge-possibility to take out the series with two games still remaining after that. Kohli himself bounced back from a scoreless game in Chennai, top scoring for India in Kolkata with a sublime 92 which set up the match nicely for the hosts. At first it was questioned if India’s total of 252 was enough to defend, whilst Kohli’s determined knock anchored the innings, his teammates couldn’t replicate their captains heroics which reduced the overall score significantly. Only Ajinkya Rahane who mustered up a half century was any good company for his captain at the crease, Manish Pandey failed yet again at no. 4 with another single-digit score. It has proven to be enough though, those impressive individual performances that have given India the upper hand in the two matches are much appreciated at the end of the day. MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya got the job done with some impressive hitting in the first game, followed by some Virat brilliance and some standout performances with the ball, the most notable of them being Kuldeep Yadav’s hat-trick in the 32nd over in Kolkata. India have managed to expose Australia yet again in the middle-order, the collapses have just handed the hosts an easy victory each time thanks to the likes of Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who have all bowled superbly so far in the series. Apart from Kuldeep’s hat-trick, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s spell was simply stunning as the seamer conceded a measly-nine runs from his 6.1 overs and picked up three wickets in the process, arguably India’s best performer with the ball in hand. They can put Australia to the sword in this upcoming match, they have all the momentum and should wrap up the series at Indore.
Australia find themselves under the microscope yet again, their past five performances in this format indicate that they’ve got significant problems that have to be addressed before things get even uglier than they already are. Even Steve Smith mentioned that these “batting collapses” are happening way to often for his own liking, the team on paper looks questionable with some selections being heavily criticized by many. David Warner looks uncomfortable on these surfaces which has certainly shown in his past two performances with the bat, while Australia’s middle order has to many casualties to often when runs are desperately required. Skipper Steve Smith and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis did their best to salvage the game, that was before Kuldeep Yadav’s hat-trick ended any possibility of a late comeback. Smith was solid at no. 3 for his 59 runs, but it was Marcus Stoinis who took it upon himself to chisel away at the deficit with his impressive & unbeaten 62 off 65 deliveries which included six boundaries and three sixes. Still falling 50 runs short of victory, it might be time for Australia to change things up if they are to take anything positive out of this series. Lets not beat around the bush, Hilton Cartwright’s selection was a strange one and has certainly played out that way so far, he’s scored just two runs in his two innings at the top of the order. Specialist wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade has also had a tough time contributing with the bat, he’s managed just eleven runs for the series so far. A positive sign for Australia has been the return of Nathan Coulter-Nile, the speedster has picked up back-to-back three-wicket hauls against India and looks the most effective of the bowlers by far. As far as winning goes, Australia can’t afford anymore batting collapses, easier said than done I guess.
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 3rd ODI | Indore
- Rohit Sharma
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Virat Kohli
- MS Dhoni
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 3rd ODI | Indore
- Steve Smith
- Nathan Coulter-Nile
- Travis Head
- David Warner
- Marcus Stoinis
Team News | India
Two failures in a row at no. 4 for Manish Pandey could spell the end for him in the series, KL Rahul is in hot contention to replace the struggling 28-year-old in India’s top order. India have no reasons to make any other changes, everything else is working like a well-oiled machine.
India (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli (c) 4. Manish Pandey/KL Rahul 5. Kedar Jadhav 6. MS Dhoni (wk) 7. Hardik Pandya 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
Team News | Australia
Two players are currently sitting on the chopping block for their poor performances in the series, Hilton Cartwright and Matthew Wade. It’s not often that a specialist wicketkeeper loses his spot in the side, but given Australia’s lack of depth due to constant collapses they might opt for Peter Handscomb over Wade in this instance. Cartwright is averaging just one for the series, so he’s a near-certainty to be omitted for the third ODI. Australia could opt to bring back Aaron Finch who is recovering from a calf injury, or elevate Travis Head to opening and bring back James Faulkner. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa could also make his return to the squad after he was dropped for the second match in Kolkata.
Australia (possible) – 1. Aaron Finch 2. David Warner 3. Steve Smith (c) 4. Travis Head 5. Peter Handscomb (wk) 6. Glenn Maxwell 7. Marcus Stoinis 8. Kane Richardson/James Faulkner 9. Pat Cummins 10. Nathan Coulter-Nile 11. Ashton Agar/Adam Zampa.