Australia lost for the third time in a row against India after the home side chased down the target of 294 set by the visitors. The Aussies appear to have real difficulty in winning away from home.
The tourists will be frustrated with their performance after the exceptional start they had in the first innings with Aaron Finch returning to the side. He scored a composed 124, complemented by a 63 from Steve Smith and posted a competitive score, but should have scored much more.
India have already won the series, and will now gun for a 5-0 whitewash against one of the best teams in the world. Can they pull it off?
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith (c), Kane Richardson, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb (wk), Travis Head, Ashton Agar, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Adam Zampa, Hilton Cartwright
Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Where the Teams Stand
The visitors’ batting effort can only be described as disappointing, despite their score. They were 223-1 in the 37th over before Finch fell and the batting collapsed. Smith departed soon after him, leaving the frailties of his middle order exposed. Maxwell departed the very next ball after Smith, dimming hopes of a big finish.
Stoinis stood strong after his innings in the last match to settle into Indian conditions and has earned a promotion in the batting order to the number four slot where Maxwell has been so wasteful. Peter Handscomb replaced Wade but did not fare much better, scoring 3 from 7. Australia has a world-class top 3, arguably the best in the world, but the last match was proof they can’t do everything, despite scoring 229 runs between them.
Australia’s bowling in the last match was not bad, and it hasn’t explicitly been underwhelming in any of the three games. They have just not done enough. When Coulter-Nile provides them with early wickets, they slack off and let India back into the game. Australia have been strangely reliant on him to provide the first breakthrough before the other bowlers contribute.
Their lack of quality spin options in subcontinental conditions is hurting them in a big way. Agar and Zampa in the first match have received considerable purchase off the pitch in all the matches, but have failed to utilise it. Thought the latter got only one game, neither of them have really troubled the Indian batsman. They have taken an aggregate of 3 wickets in 3 games, and their economy has been on the higher side (6.6 for Zampa, 6 and 7.1 in two games for Agar).
It might be worth considering dropping spin altogether and relying on Maxwell or Head for slow bowling to make way for Faulkner, giving them an extra batting option lower down the order. While a controversial suggestion, nothing else seems to work for the Aussies either, and it might just work.
Thankfully for them, the next match is at Bangalore, a small stadium with pace friendly conditions. The venue will suit their style of play and is their best opportunity yet to get to winning ways.
It isn’t often when you get to see a collective batting performance from India the way we did in the third match. Rahane and Sharma laid out a great platform for the first time this series for the middle order to capitalise on, which they did. The openers scored 70 and 71 respectively, followed by a 78 by Pandya at number 4.
The move to keep Jadhav and Pandey back and let him have a go worked wonders. Pandey finally performed, contributing with a 36*. Jadhav was the only one to have been dismissed cheaply, succumbing on 2. After every great Indian performance, however, comes a colossally bad Indian performance. Though an arguably harsh generalisation, the home side must be cautious about this in the fourth and fifth ODIs after three wins on the trot.
India’s spinners were successful once again, bailing the home side from destruction as Yadav scalped both Finch and Smith, who were in the middle of a 154 run partnership. The twin strike, followed by Chahal’s dismissal of Maxwell completely derailed the Aussies’ batting, and gave India a much lower target than what was potentially on offer. Bumrah took 2 wickets, recovering from his rare off day during the second ODI. Pandya chipped in as well with the wicket of David Warner. The consistency of the bowling attack is essential to the success of the Indians. Bangalore is a popular graveyard for bowlers, and this consistency will be needed more than ever on a pitch that heavily favours the batsmen.
Everything seems to work for India, and it has for a while now. Come Thursday, they can play with greater freedom, having sealed the series and put on more entertainment for the fans.
Abhay Almal: India win.
Prasanna Balakrishnan: India to go 4-0 up in the series after batting first and defending a 350+ target
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?