PCA IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
March 10, Sunday; 13:30 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
The victory in the third ODI was just Australia’s fourth since the start of 2018, and it is arguably their best performance in the last 15 months. The batsmen, particularly the openers, delivered the goods, helping put up a 300-plus score which was defended quite comfortably by the bowling attack, with Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson taking nine wickets between them.
Australia’s performance was so complete and clinical that the challenge for them, going into the fourth ODI, is to replicate it. The team management will be happy to see Aaron Finch finally getting back among the runs—his 93 on Friday was just his second 50-plus score in the last six months—while Usman Khawaja, who made his maiden ODI century, continues to reinforce his case to be in the squad for the World Cup.
Suddenly, Australia have good competition for places, particularly for one or two middle-order spots, with Khawaja outshining Shaun Marsh, who had been Australia’s best batsman in the three-match ODI series back home in January, on this trip.
Jhye Richardson made a good comeback after replacing Nathan Coulter-Nile in the playing XI. He had been expensive in the two Twenty20 Internationals too, but he was so good in Ranchi, where he recorded figures of three for 37, that Coulter-Nile’s absence wasn’t felt by the visitor.
Zampa has perhaps outshone even Kuldeep Yadav in the three ODIs so far and is a key component for Australia with his ability to take wickets during the middle phase of the innings (overs 11 to 40).
From India’s perspective, their openers, who have been critical to the team’s success in ODI cricket in the last 18 to 24 months, haven’t provided good starts this series and being exposed to the new ball hasn’t helped Ambati Rayudu’s case, in particular. India’s batting line-up, all of a sudden, doesn’t look as formidable as it did in the New Zealand ODI series or even when they played Australia in January.
The Indian team management will like to see Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan get at least one good score under their belt before the conclusion of this ODI series, while we will also see if KL Rahul gets a look-in in Mohali. The dilemma for India will be whether to bring Rahul in place of one of the openers, having been picked in the squad as a third opener, or to slot him at No. 4 in place of Rayudu.
What we can be certain of is Rishabh Pant replacing MS Dhoni in the playing XI, with the former captain having been rested for the final two ODIs. India must also address their playing combination after finding themselves short of ammunition in the bowling department in the face of the onslaught from Finch and Khawaja in the third one-dayer. Yuzvendra Chahal’s wicket-taking ability was missed, while Ravindra Jadeja again failed to deliver as an all-rounder.
India had a poor day on the field in Ranchi and they couldn’t play their best cricket, partially because Australia were very good with the ball and Finch and Khawaja married aggression and caution particularly well to take Australia to 193 before being separated. Australia winning the third ODI has made the remaining two ODIs intriguing, with India now having to rise to Australia’s challenge.
Pitch conditions and weather forecast
The pitch at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium has morphed into a slow surface in recent years. It doesn’t have the pace and bounce that we were used to getting in the 2000s. While the pitch is likely to be benign, accumulation of runs will be a challenge for the batsmen with the ball gripping on the relatively drier top surface. You can expect the spinners to have a major say on proceedings once again.
The forecast says that Sunday will be foggy with the quality of air potentially hazardous. In the evening, the temperature will drop to 10 degree Celsius, while the maximum for the day is 26 degree Celsius.
India vs Australia 4th ODI playing 11
Possible India playing XI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 KL Rahul/Ambati Rayudu, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja/Yuzvendra Chahal, 7 Kedar Jadhav, 8 Vijay Shankar, 9 Mohammed Shami/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 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 Jhye Richardson, 11 Nathan Lyon
Australia will play with the confidence of their morale-boosting victory in Ranchi. If the top-order continues piling on the runs and the Australian bowlers can keep India’s top order quiet, Finch and co. will give themselves a good chance of levelling the series. That said, India will raise their game after a largely flat performance in all three departments in the third ODI.