India vs Australia 2017: India's predicted playing XI for third ODI
Much like a soft rasgulla melting in the mouth, the Australian side, stunned both by the sweltering heat in Kolkata and the potency of India’s bowling attack, crumbled to their second consecutive loss in the series. Approaching halfway stage already, the series is tilted on one side, but there's a third angle to the story: as the sides reached Indore, the showers from Chennai and Kolkata followed them.
India has played four ODIs and a Test at Indore, and have won all five of them. Here is a possible India XI that might help the team notch up their sixth win here:
Rohit Sharma hasn’t got going in the series yet, but his low scores in the first two games can’t be branded as a loss of form yet: he scored two back-to-back hundreds in just the previous series in Lanka. Playing with a changed partner and with a vice-captain tag next to his name, the pressure might be a little more than usual on Rohit, although his track record suggests that a big knock isn’t far away.
His partner, Ajinkya Rahane, is living a life of ODI uncertainty: he has done enough to cement his spot, but it’ll all vanish in a puff of dust once Shikhar Dhawan reappears. He started with a flurry of boundaries in the last match, and looked in fine nick during his 55. Another big knock, and he won’t be easy to be pushed off the team bus.
With his favourite opponents facing him, Virat Kohli will be itching to give his best, both with the bat, and verbally. His measured 92 in the second ODI helped quickly erase the ignominy of a duck in the first game, while his captaincy paid rich dividends with back to back wins. Another big knock seems to be round the corner for the Delhi lad, who has rubbed his positive body language on the rest of the team.
In a game of musical chairs for India’s No.4 spot, Manish Pandey is the latest contestant. Having edged out KL Rahul, who enjoys the team’s backing, Pandey might be feeling the push to perform. His first two scores in the series have garnered just three runs, making every game from here on a crucial one for the 28-year-old.
Despite the backing of the management, Kedar Jadhav has not been able to achieve substantial scores from his starts, and has been dismissed at the most crucial of junctures. Being groomed for a more prominent finisher’s role in the future, Jadhav will be expected to more on the lines of his finishing heroics against New Zealand last year.
Staunch critics, who so easily started writing MS Dhoni’s obituary, are eating their own words, as a 36-year-old former India captain has found a second wind with the bat this year, averaging close to 90 in ODIs. With Kohli handling the skipper duties, Dhoni has had the freedom to carve out his own separate role in the team, and has managed to do it in some style, as could be seen during his vintage knock in the first game.
Words of praising are pouring in for Hardik Pandya, who seems to be maturing with each passing game. Possessing the unmatched ability to change gears effortlessly, irrespective of the situation or the opponents, Pandya’s knock in the first game gave India hope that another finisher’s career was finally taking flight. His bowling is an added advantage, also perhaps, the aspect of his game where he has to work more.
When Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned to the Indian set-up with more pace than swing, people though that with the addition of speed, the UP pacer had compromised on movement. All that talk went for a toss in the second ODI, when Bhuvi gave a perfect demonstration of new ball bowling, planning well during his impressive spell of 3-9 in six overs. Expect more of the same from him in the next few games.
There hasn’t been as much excitement for a spinner recently as there has been more Kuldeep Yadav, who has turned heads with his sharply turning deliveries, most recently with a hat-trick, only the third ever in ODIs by an Indian. Bowling a brand of spin that is rare, Kuldeep has made the return path of once first-choices Ashwin and Jadeja a fairly difficult one.
Complementing Yadav’s chinaman bowling is Yuzvendra Chahal’s canny leg-breaks: the Haryana boy doesn’t shy one bit in giving the delivery some nice air, tossing it up with the intention of extracting a false stroke from the batsman. Along with Yadav, Chahal yanked the heart out of the Australian chase by making regular incisions at their middle order, helping widen the gap between India’s total and Australia’s target.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar handling the role of the fast bowling spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah might have been pushed to the sidelines, but has been more than playing his part, even though the wickets column might not be saying it out loud. With the new ball, he is accurate, giving the batsmen hardly anything to play with. He transforms into a wily customer at the death, sending down a barrage of variations that can fox even the best.