We take a look at the third ODI between India and Australia to take place on Sunday 24 September at the Holkar Stadium.
The Indians are in pursuit of a ninth consecutive ODI victory and a second series win to match what they achieved against Sri Lanka earlier this month.
The Australians, meanwhile, are still trying to find their first win in the intermediate form of the international game since late January’s success over Pakistan.
India v Australia | Sunday, 24 September | Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore | 10:00
To Win Match
India 62/100 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 27/20
The hosts will head into the fixture with a squad that will soon change for the final two ODIs of the series, but won’t likely tinker with a well balanced XI. Their bowling attack, in particular, has impressed throughout – with the guile and flight of leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav superbly complementing the lateral movement and pace generated by seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
While most eyes remain on Virat Kohli, who shrugged off an otherwise lean stretch of form against Australia this year with a near century in Kolkata, the ongoing influence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni cannot be underestimated. Now with 300 ODIs for his country to his name, the veteran’s transition from captain to the rank and file has been exemplary.
India have never lost an international fixture at Sunday’s venue, with October 2015’s ODI victory over a formidable South African unit testament to their dominance at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. The weather which threatened the second ODI at Eden Gardens, meanwhile, won’t likely hamper the third.
If anywhere in their batting ranks, India would like to see bigger and better contributions from middle-order duo Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav. The former has KL Rahul breathing down is neck for a berth in the first-choice XI, while the latter needs to convert promising starts to innings and substance. Kohli, Dhoni and Hardik Pandya are not always going to toll, if the openers don’t.
Initially fast-tracked, Steven Smith has since taken to the role of captain in a gradual, sensible fashion. Usually slow to admonish and relatively levelheaded, Smith has been prompt in his assessment of the tourists’ batting in India so far. Indeed, silly mistakes and characteristic collapses must be avoided from here on in.
One surmises Hilton Cartwright will not open the batting alongside David Warner in Indore. The experiment in the absence of Aaron Finch has not worked, and Travis Head would have been better suited at the top of the order. Head’s timing in sub-continental conditions has been immaculate – and the Aussies would do well to afford him more time against the new balls.
Cartwright should be dropped down the order, or out the XI entirely. He’s time to shine will come again, but for now it’s worth affording Peter Handscomb another go in the ODI XI. The balance of the unit, though, needs tempering, especially if Ashton Agar is sidelined by injury sustained in the second match. Finch’s probable return, too, requires accommodation.
Kane Richardson used the slower ball well enough in Kolkata – and is a solid support act to Nathan Coulter-Nile. Both will be heavily challenged to come up with appropriate variations at a venue Australia have never played. Coulter-Nile removed Kohli early in Chennai and late in Kolkata – their battle within the war will, again, be intriguing.
Verdict: India 62/100
The hosts have beaten England, South Africa and the West Indies in Indore – and will likely add Australia to the collection en route to a second series victory this month.