India will battle for supremacy and look to clinch the ODI series when they take on Australia in the Third ODI at Indore on Sunday. India have won the first two ODIs with great resilience. Australia have been found wanting in the last two ODIs. Australia will come hard at India and try to keep the five-match series alive. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams.
India batting: India have great depth in their batting, highlighted in the last two ODIs. Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane form the new pair, but they are yet to give Team India a good start. Rahane made a fifty in the last match and will retain his place in the team. KL Rahul may replace Manish Pandey at No 4. Indian skipper Virat Kohli produced a master-class 92 after the duck in the first ODI. Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya lend solidity to the middle-lower order.
Bowling combination: India spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and YS Chahal have produced good results with the ball. The two took 10 wickets in the last two ODIs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been excellent with the new ball. Hardik Pandya fulfills the all-rounder spot with ease.
Winning momentum: India have won 8 ODIs on a stretch and will look to extend their winning run. India are a strong team across all departments. It will be difficult for Australia to beat India at home. India will look to be ruthless in their approach and blank out Australia in the series.
Complacency: The only thing that can come in between India and victory is complacency. Australia will come hard at India in the third ODI. India should not take Australia lightly as the tourists play some competitive cricket in the shorter format. Bowlers saved the day for India in the second ODI. India need to be ruthless in both batting and bowling to win the third ODI and the series.
Players to watch out for:
Virat Kohli: After his duck in the first ODI, Virat Kohli responded with a masterful knock of 92 in the second ODI. He looks in supreme form and would be more than motivated to win the series in the third ODI itself. Kohli has been in sublime form in recent times and would lead the batting once again in the third ODI.
Kuldeep Yadav: He made Australian batsmen dance to his tunes in the second ODI. He took a hat-trick in the second ODI to bowl India to a win. He and YS Chahal will again be the key for India in the third ODI. Kuldeep, especially, will be expected to do the magic for India once again in the third ODI.
India squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Bowling power: Australia have been brilliant in patches in the last two ODIs. In the first ODI, they had reduced India to 87/5 before losing the plot. In the second ODI, they did well to restrict Indian to a 250-plus total. Nathan Coulter-Nile has been really impressive, getting the ball to talk against a star-studded Indian line-up. Marcus Stoinis and Kane Richardson produced a good supporting job in the second ODI. Once again, Australian bowling will be key in the third ODI against India.
Batting firepower: In David Warner, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell, Australia have a batting firepower that can destroy any opposition. Barring Smith and Stoinis, most of the Australian batsmen have flattered to deceive. Australia need Warner to fire at the top of the order to give them the edge over India. Other batsmen such as Peter Handscomb, Mathew Wade have to raise their hands and be counted.
Inconsistencies: Australia have been guilty of letting go of the opportunity to knock India out in the first two ODIs. They have failed to maintain the same level of intensity throughout the 100 overs in both batting and bowling, allowing India to claw back into the game. Hence, Australia will have to work on keeping the intensity at top level throughout the 100 overs and be ruthless to knock out India.
Players to watch out for:
Marcus Stoinis: He threatened to take the game away from India with his hard-hitting batting in the second ODI. But he did not got support from the other end. The team management will be prompted to send him up the order ahead of Glenn Maxwell. He looked the best Australian batsman in the third ODI.
Nathan Coulter-Nile: He has carried his IPL form into the ODI series. He was a big relief for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017 IPL. And his experience of bowling in Indian conditions is helping him out to stop Indian top-order from running away with the game. He will once again be the key for Australia in giving early wickets.
Australia squad: Steven Smith, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Mathew Wade, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Peter Handscomb.
Prediction: India are on a roll, winning everything on their way. They are coming off a 9-0 whitewash against Sri Lanka and have added another two wins to their kitty. The most admirable thing about India is the way they have bounced back from a setback, creating impossible situations into winning positions. Australia have failed to keep the intensity going after putting India in a bother. They have to put up a team’s effort to thwart India from running away with the series.
Possible winner: India