Just 3 games done and the hosts have already won the series. Yes, they were the favorites to win but who would have thought that Australia would go down so easily so soon? Team India has been absolutely relentless on the visitors and never have the Australians looked like matching them.
It’s been all one-way traffic so far as Virat Kohli and his men dominated all 3 ODIs. Australia looked good in patches but too many collapses in the batting line-up have hurt them badly. In all the games, the bowlers did a fair job but the batsmen just haven’t been able to back them up.
In the last ODI as well, Australia was in the driver’s seat at 224/1 batting first courtesy a brilliant hundred by Aaron Finch. But after his departure, another collapse was triggered and the team fell at least 50 runs short of where they should have reached.
The Indian batsmen were at the opposition right from the start and didn’t give even a sniff. A win by 5 wickets gave them an unassailable lead as well as the No.1 ODI ranking. While they’ll leave no stone unturned in trying to win the 4th game as well, the Steve Smith-led side would hope for some source of inspiration to restore pride in Bengaluru.
The opening combination of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma flourished big time as a stand of 139 took the game away from the opposition in Indore. Hardik Pandya played the decisive knock of 78 and Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey too chipped in with useful contributions. As the series is in the bag, Kohli mentioned that the benched players will get a look in and hence KL Rahul might find a place in the middle-order.
The new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah weren’t as effective at the start but came back beautifully to restrict the opposition at the death. Pandya bagged the crucial wicket of Warner that opened India’s account. But the 2 leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav once again stole the show and turned the game on its head. Mohammed Shami might be brought in the side by resting one of the pacers.
Aaron Finch made a merry return to the side with a shining knock of 124. David Warner looked comfortable for the first time but couldn’t convert the start into a substantial one. Steve Smith too played a decent hand of 63 but there wasn’t much to offer from other batsmen. Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head and Peter Handscomb departed quickly while Marcus Stoinis once again played the lone hand at the end.
The pacers Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson chipped in with wickets but none of them proved to be lethal. Ashton Agar was taken to the cleaners by Hardik Pandya as he went for 71 in his 10 overs. To make the matters worse for the spinner, he suffered an injury to his finger and is ruled out of the series which would mean that the leg-spinner Adam Zampa will return to the playing XI.
Players to watch out for
The Indian skipper has a score of 92 to his name from the 2nd ODI. But apart from that, he has scores of 0 and 28. Going by the standards he has set for himself, he would want to contribute a lot more. The 28-year-old hasn’t scored a century so far and very rarely does he miss out on one in any series. A Virat Kohli special could be just around the corner.
Just like Kohli, the Australian skipper too sets high standards for himself. After a failure in the first game, he has scored 2 half-centuries. Personally, he has had a good time so far but if his team is to win in the remaining games, its Smith who needs to play the defining knocks.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins