India will be eyeing their maiden bilateral one day series win on Australian soil when they take on the hosts in the third and final ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The Men in Blue suffered a minor hiccup in the first ODI in Sydney but came back strongly to win the second one by 6 wickets in Adelaide, primarily thanks to fine contributions from skipper Virat Kohli, who notched up his 39th hundred, and veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored his second consecutive 50+ score of the series.
India’s top order finally came to the party in the South Australian capital with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Kohli finding their touch, although Ambati Rayudu continued to look a bit out of sorts.
MS Dhoni who was heavily criticized for his innings at Sydney, scored much faster in Adelaide and took India past the finishing along with Dinesh Karthik, who played a brilliant cameo (25 off 14)
With 13 matches to go before the mega event, the visitors would be looking to get their combinations right before leaving for England.
One among Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar is likely to get a nod ahead of Rayudu who has appeared scratchy and has also been reported for an illegal action. That would also give the visitors a sixth bowling all rounder option- Kohli was forced to bowl out Mohammad Siraj in Adelaide because he had no other options up his sleeve. Given his experience in the limited overs format, Jadhav is likely to get the nod.
There could also be an immediate return to the XI for young left arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed, who was dropped for the previous game in favour of Siraj, who as mentioend above, who was taken to the cleaners by the Aussies batsmen.
Australia would be worried about the lack of scores at the top from the skipper Aaron Finch, who has looked woefully out of sorts, and Alex Carey, who has got starts but has not been able to convert them into something more substantial.
The bulk of the runs have been scored by with the middle-order with the likes of Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh all in decent nick.
There are also concerns over the form of Peter Siddle, with Finch often forced to bowl out star pacer Jhye Richardson earlier than what he’d normally have preferred, but the Victorian is expected to get another game.
The hosts have made 2 changes in the playing XI by including Adam Zampa in place of veteran spinner Nathan Lyon, who went wicket less in the opening two games, and Billy Stanlake in for left arm paceman Jason Behrendorff, who has been ruled out with back soreness. They have also included paceman Kane Richardson into the squad as cover.
India Probable XI
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav/Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed/ Mohammed Siraj & Mohammed Shami
Australia Probable XI
Aaron Finch (capt) Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa & Billy Stanlake