JSCA Stadium Complex, Ranchi
March 8, Friday; 13:30 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
Australia have more than one issue to resolve going into the do-or-die third One-Day International, having blown away a big chance to draw level in Nagpur. The primary issue is the tempo of the innings when they bat. Barring Peter Handscomb and, to an extent, Glenn Maxwell, Australian batsmen have been choked by the Indian spinners during the middle phase (overs 11-40), which is when India, when they have bowled, have taken control of the match, both in Nagpur and Hyderabad. In Nagpur, for example, Australia scored only 126 runs during this phase and lost five wickets, despite which they should probably have won having needed 34 runs from 35 balls with five wickets in hand.
Secondly, Australia have had only one half-centurion in each of the two previous ODIs, while plenty of their batsmen have made 30s and 40s and not carried on to make bigger scores. Australia need batsmen who are set to either finish off the match—say, if they are in a situation like in Nagpur, where Peter Handscomb was timing the ball nicely and had the measure of the Indian bowlers before his run-out brought India back into the match—or not let the pressure of dot balls force them to play a big shot when occupying the crease will be a much better option.
Australia have now lost four ODIs in a row against India, starting with the second ODI of the three-match series back home in early January, and in Ranchi, they face a mental challenge, as much a technical one, to overcome the mistakes that have cost them with the bat and with the ball at various stages of those four ODIs.
India, on the other hand, are a team high on confidence having, in stark contrast to Australia, found ways to win matches from difficult positions. In Hyderabad, they were 99 for four, chasing 237, and Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni came to their rescue. In Nagpur, their bowlers stepped up to the plate after a disappointing batting performance. The intensity with which India have played has been among the impressive aspects, given the pre-series talk of their trying to zero in on the players for the couple of spots still vacant in India’s World Cup squad.
Pitch conditions and weather forecast
The pitch at the JSCA Stadium complex has tended to be slow, dry and therefore conducive to spinners and slower bowlers. The two sets of spinners are likely to have a big impact once again.
The forecast says that Friday will be clear with a maximum of 26 degree Celsius.
India vs Australia 3rd ODI playing 11
Possible India playing XI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 KL Rahul/Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Kedar Jadhav, 8 Vijay Shankar, 9 Mohammed Shami/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav
Possible Australia playing XI: 1 Aaron Finch (c), 2 Alex Carey (wk), 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Usman Khawaja, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Peter Handscomb, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Adam Zampa, 11 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Nathan Lyon
India came into this series as the better team and two matches in, they have played the big moments much better than Australia. Two-nil up, they go into the third ODI needing no extra motivation to close out the series and give themselves two matches to give the likes of Rishabh Pant chances to stake their claim for a spot in India’s World Cup squad.