Tuesday, October 29, 2013

India VS Australia, 6th ODI at Nagpur - Can Australia achieve a hat-trick here?

India will face Australia for their next ODI match here at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium on Wednesday and after the previous two matches at Ranchi and Cuttack being cancelled due to bad weather conditions, today it seems the rain God is in the side of the cricket fans.

Australian team were seen practising in the stadium ahead of their potentially decisive match against India, who are leading the current seven match series with a 2-1 results. A win in one of the remaining two matches will mean the Aussies’ record in bilateral series in India will remain flattering.

This is Australia’s third seven-match ODI series in India. The men-in-yellow were successful on the previous two tours, wrapping up the series with a win in the sixth ODI. Looking at the current situation, it may not be completely impossible for the visitors to turn their third seven match series against India into a hat-trick performance.

Despite the visitors being ranked second in the world, many expected India to place daylight between itself and the opposition by the end of the series.

With batsmen enjoying greater benefits from the rule changes in ODI cricket, such optimism sprung from the perception that India’s batting prowess would be enough to outplay the Aussies. A grain of truth could certainly be extracted from that claim but it failed to take into account the Indian bowlers’ inability to back the batting performance.

Australia lowest total in this series has been 295, and another big score seems likely at the VCA Stadium. In the six ODIs played here, teams batting first have scored less than 292 only once.

However, four of those fixtures were won by sides chasing a total.

On the positive side for India, it defeated Australia in the first ever 50-over game held here in 2009. India, though, has lost its last two matches at this venue since.

Ahead of the match, Bailey suggested that Australia would field an unchanged team as continuity has helped his side to excel. After introducing Mohammad Shami and Jaydev Unadkat at the expense of Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Ranchi, it seems Dhoni will persist with the same eleven as well.

Shami’s opening spell in the fourth ODI would have eased the skipper’s worries a little as he got the ball to move at considerable pace.

However, with the rest of the bowlers yet to contribute significantly, the batsmen may once again have to bear the burden.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, R. Vinay Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra and Ambati Rayudu.

Australia: George Bailey (capt.), Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell, Phillip Hughes, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Callum Ferguson and Moises Henriques.

Umpires: Nigel Llong and S. Ravi; 

Third umpire: Vineet Kulkarni.

Match referee: Andrew Pycroft.

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