Team India will take to the field against Australia in the third and final One Day International (ODI) with the bid to seal a historic victory on Friday at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG). A win would mark India’s first-ever bilateral series win in Australia.
The ODI series is currently poised at 1-1 and sets up for a tantalising final encounter. The hosts won the first match in Sydney by 34 runs and India followed up with an equalising victory by six wickets in Adelaide.
India’s only series win in the 50-over format against Australia came in in 1985 (World Championship of Cricket) and 2008 (CB Series).
In India’s victory at Adelaide, Kohli’s ton guided India to a crucial victory in the 2nd ODI in Adelaide. While Dhoni’s display was also appreciated. The last time India toured Australia was in 2016, and the series concluded in a 1-4 defeat.
India’s bowling line up has been fragile. Youngster Mohammed Siraj bowled 10 overs on his debut in Adelaide, where he gave away 76 runs without a single wicket. Khallel Ahmed also hasn’t had the desired display- he gave away 55 runs in 10 overs in the first ODI and these two players are likely to be replaced in the match. India’s primary point of concern will be the fifth bowler in the absence of the suspended Hardik Pandya. However, the positives are Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has impressed in both the games, with pacer Mohammed Shami and the spin duo of chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja providing good support.
Skipper Virat Kohli could be tempted to go for the all-rounder Vijay Shankar on Friday or may opt for Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been on the bench in the previous two matches.
For Australia, it is Lyon who has faced the ax, just two matches after he had replaced Zampa in the side for the series opener in Sydney. Pacer Kane Richardson has also been called into the squad.
The hosts’ main threat has come from No.3 and No.4 in Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh. The latter displayed an impressive knock of 123-ball 131 in the second match despite losing the match. The middle-order, comprising the likes of Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have also been among the runs this series.
It will be a dramatic clash at the MCG on 18th January as a win for Australia would give them their first series win in almost two years, while a win for the men-in-blues would go down in the books of history.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (Vice Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Vijay Shankar.
Australia: Aaron Finch (Captain), Alex Carey (WK), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake.