Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi
March 13, Wednesday; 13:30 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
We have seen a canny side to Australia in the last two ODIs that has been missing with the current crop for much of the last 15 months. Captain Aaron Finch sparked this revival of sorts with a brisk 93 in Ranchi and his innings set the tone for a comfortable Australian win albeit the bowlers contributed in equal measure in the second half of the third ODI. The revival that started with Finch was carried forward by Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja, in particular, in the fourth ODI, and Ashton Turner played perhaps the defining innings by an Australian batsman in recent memory. The signs are good for Australia going into the fifth ODI, with their bowling attack faring well for a majority of the series too.
From India’s perspective, they have gained a few positives over the course of this series, with Vijay Shankar, in particular, impressing with the bat on more than one occasion and stepping up with the ball in Nagpur. But the big concern for them is they have wilted, particularly on the field, when Australia put them under pressure in Ranchi and on Sunday in Mohali. They dropped two catches in the crunch moments in Mohali and their ground fielding in Ranchi was glaringly bad, too.
That said, India are comparatively more settled than their visitor and they will like to think of these consecutive losses as a blip and a chance to remind themselves of where they need to tighten up ahead of the World Cup.
The series is level 2-2 and, on the basis of how they have played, India and Australia will start the final ODI on an equal footing.
Australia will have an interesting selection call to make if Marcus Stoinis, who made way for the eventual hero Turner because of a broken thumb, is fit to play again. Jason Behrendorff replaced Nathan Lyon in Mohali, but the slower Feroz Shah Kotla pitch might make Australia think about bringing Lyon back.
India’s playing XI in Mohali was along expected lines and the team management is likely to keep the faith in the players who came in and didn’t quite make a substantial contribution.
Pitch conditions and weather forecast
The pitch at Kotla is among the slow, low ones in the country, albeit it’s good for batting and the dew is likely to play a part again in the evening. The spinners are likely to play a key role.
The forecast says that Wednesday will be clear with a maximum of 26 degree Celsius with the night temperature dropping to 15 degree Celsius. The air quality is said to be hazardous.
India vs Australia playing 5th ODI playing 11
Possible India playing XI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 KL Rahul, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Vijay Shankar, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 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 Ashton Turner, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Adam Zampa, 11 Jhye Richardson, 11 Nathan Lyon
Australia will be feeling good not just because they won in Mohali but because their batting delivered when it needed to and the bowling delivered when it needed to in Ranchi. With the pitch expected to assist the spinners and the dew likely to play some part again, the result might well hinge on how the two teams fare in the middle phase of the innings (overs 11 to 40) and how the bowling attacks manage the wet ball if and when the dew kicks in.