India and Virat Kohli provided a response to a disappointing start to the ODI series with a classy win in Adelaide to level the series – and set up a decider.
Australia’s inability to maintain an accelerated tempo continues to be their greatest weakness – and proved their undoing in the second ODI.
Australia vs India | Friday, 18 January | Melbourne Cricket Ground | 04:20
To Win Match
Australia batted quite well in the second ODI, but when facing India that just isn’t enough to guarantee victory. Despite hitting a ton in the match, questions remain about Shaun Marsh’s ability to win ODI matches for Australia.
The batting unit still has something of a bit-part look to it – and hasn’t been helped by inconsistent selection over the last two years.
Bowling provides Australia with a completely different set of problems, which centre more around who to leave out rather than who to pick.
Nathan Lyon went wicketless again in Adelaide and doesn’t look like a player who will help Australia to a World Cup title, especially when juxtaposed with spinners capable of picking up wickets through the middle overs.
Australia’s star with the ball has been young Jhye Richardson, who might be able to squeeze into that World Cup group if he can maintain his current form.
India proved plenty with their win in Adelaide, but the performance will chiefly be seen as confirmation of the talents of skipper Kohli and the finishing powers of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who showed he can still contribute in international cricket.
Ravindra Jadeja furthered his case for a spot in the World Cup group with an athletic display in the field – and a tidy return with the ball. With Hardik Pandya’s cricketing future uncertain, Jadeja’s performance will come as a relief to India fans.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar continues to be in splendid form and executes his skills at the death – and in the powerplay – brilliantly well. He has received great support from Mohammed Shami. Mohammad Siraj has struggled so far this series, after being drafted in for Jasprit Bumrah.
Dinesh Karthik batting at six and not taking the gloves seems something of a luxury, but his experience and adaptability might be the difference for India at crunch time.
Verdict: India 57/100
India have seized the momentum and should have the quality to put Australia away at the MCG.