CHENNAI: Top-ranked India face Australia in the series-deciding third One-day International here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
After suffering a 10-wicket thrashing in the second ODI at Vishakhapatnam, the Rohit Sharma-led India will have a lot to ponder. Earlier in the first ODI, the hosts had won by five wickets in Mumbai.
India are not expected to make any major changes to their playing XI except for an odd tweak. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like Australia, second in the ICC ODI rankings, will alter their line-up.
Indian batter Surykumar Yadav’s poor form is a big concern for India. Although Rohit maintained that the right-hander will get a longer run in the absence of regular No.4 Shreyas Iyer. In the first two ODIs, Suryakumar had got successive first ball nought.
In this scenario, the hosts may give Hardik Pandya a chance at No.4 and demote Suryakumar to six. Pandya has batted at four for Gujrat Titans scoring 487 runs.
Apart from Virat Kohli, the other India batter, who looked at ease in the second ODI was left-hander Axar Patel. He will be extremely unlucky but will have to make way for Shardul Thakur. With Ravindra Jadeja in the team, Axar’s inclusion doesn’t make any sense and India will be looking to add an extra seamer. If Axar has to play, India might have to drop Kuldeep Yadav, who again has done nothing wrong.
For Australia, seasoned opener David Warner missed the first ODI as he is yet to recover from the elbow injury that ruled him out of the Border-Gavaskar Test series. In his absence, Mitchell Starc has stepped up, hitting 81 at Wankhede and 66 not out in Vishakhapatnam. Travis Head, who failed in the first ODI roared back with an unbeaten 30-ball 51 in the second game.
It rained in Chennai on Monday but it is expected to clear on Wednesday. The weather could be hot and humid again though so there is the chance of more swing and seam movement, although the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in the past few years has remained predominantly spin-friendly in limited-overs cricket.
INDIA: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkatt
AUSTRALIA: Steve Smith (captain), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023