3rd ODI: India and Australia ready for showdown

+100%-

BENGALURU, January 18: A coveted series-victory will be at stake when a resilient India face a feisty Australia in the third and deciding ODI on Sunday, promising a fitting finale between the two leading teams in world cricket.
The series was very much expected to go down to the wire but with the way the Australians hammered the hosts in the series opener, it seemed the tourists would run away with their second straight series win in India.
However, India showed commendable character in Rajkot to level the series, proving that the panic buttons were pressed prematurely following the 10-wicket loss in Mumbai.
More importantly, India got their batting combination right for the second ODI, a fair comment considering the way KL Rahul seized the opportunity in his new batting position – number five.
With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opening, team’s best batsman and skipper Virat Kohli returned to his usual number three spot while Shreyas Iyer was back at number four. The same order is likely to be followed on Sunday.
Rohit, who is due for a big score in the series, hurt his shoulder while fielding on Friday but Kohli is confident that the star opener will be available for the series decider at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
Dhawan was also hit in the rib cage off a Pat Cummins ball, forcing him out of action when Australia batted.
“Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are progressing well. Their recovery is being closely monitored and a call on their participation in the final ODI will be taken before the match,” BCCI said in a statement.
Manish Pandey played in place of injured Rishabh Pant and it remains to be seen if the southpaw is fit for the game.
The biggest plus for India from Rajkot was Rahul’s power-packed knock at number five, creating a new set of possibilities that might help in improving the team balance.
Specialist opener Rahul made the difference in India’s innings by batting at a 150-plus strike rate in an unfamiliar position, having batted at three in the previous game.
In fact, Kohli went to the extent of saying that it was the best he saw from Rahul at the international level. India are looking to add much needed firepower in the middle-order and Rahul could provide that.
In Pant’s absence, he also did well behind the wicket, effecting Aaron Finch’s stumping besides taking two catches. (PTI)