The story of the 2nd ODI between India and Australia in Kolkata wasn’t too different from the first one. India batted first and put up a decent score and then the wrist spinners wreaked havoc in the Australian camp to clinch the victory. The only difference was that the rain gods only made a guest appearance while they had a prominent role in the first game.
Now the action shifts to the center of India as the Holkar Stadium hosts the 3rd game in Indore. The threat of rain is looming once again over the game but as per the weather forecast, the game should be possible. It’s the same ground where Virender Sehwag scored an ODI double hundred against West Indies in 2011.
As per the curator, the pitch will offer plenty of runs as well as assist wrist spinners. Team India will be in the advantage due to the presence of Yuzvendra Chahal and the hattrick man Kuldeep Yadav who have done all the damage so far in the series.
On the other hand, the Australians might have a hard time yet again. Their batsmen haven’t been able to back up the good work done by the bowlers and a collapse in both the games led to the downfall. Steve Smith and his men will have their work cut out in the do or die match as another loss would bring down curtains to their chances in the series.
Rohit Sharma missed out in the last game and he’ll be itching to get back amongst the runs. Ajinkya Rahane played a decent hand of 55 but Virat Kohli stole the show with a gritty 92 on a surface where stroke-making was hard. There wasn’t too much contribution from other batsmen but in Indore, they might get helpful conditions.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a terrific first spell with the new ball returning with figures of 9/3 from 6.1 overs. He swung the ball both ways and inflicted a collapse. Hardik Pandya once again chipped in with 2 wickets but it was the duo of Chahal and Kuldeep that bowled the decisive spells. Chahal was tremendous right through and Kuldeep came back after a slight mishap to bag an eye-catching hattrick.
As per reports, Aaron Finch might return from injury for the next game. David Warner has had a torrid time so far and his failures have proven to be costly for the side. Steve Smith has been getting out after getting starts and he needs to play the decisive knock. Marcus Stoinis played a decent hand of 62 but he was left to do too much alone. The other batsmen have had troubling times against spin and need to find out ways to survive.
The bowlers have done a decent job so far but the batsmen just haven’t given them enough backing. Nathan Coulter-Nile is doing the damage at the top and is well supported by Pat Cummins and Stoinis. But it’s been the inability of the spinners that has allowed the Indian batsmen to run away. In the first game, it was Adam Zampa and then, it was Ashton Agar who were taken for plenty.
Players to watch out for
India’s No.4 batsman has had scores of 0 and 3 in the 2 matches so far. He had a good run in Sri Lanka due to which he was preferred to play in the middle-order keeping KL Rahul out of the side. But now it’s high time that Pandey delivers in Indore. Kohli has shown a keenness to play Rahul in the team and another failure from Pandey could lead to his exclusion.
The right-hander has played 2 quickfire cameos in the 2 games so far – 39 from 18 in Chennai and 14 from 18 in Kolkata that included 6 sixes. As he is not contributing the ball, he needs to do a lot more with the bat. The boundaries in Indore are not too big and that’s where Maxwell would be looking to cash in.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Travis Head, Matthew Wade (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins