Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Rattled by two successive defeats, Virat Kohli and his men will have to regroup themselves to put it across resurgent Australia in the decider of the 5-match ODI series at Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The two defeats exposed many a fault lines in the Kohli led squad which after first two one days looked invincible. But the next two ODIS saw the hosts suddenly vulnerable and adding to their woes were bowling failure, dismal fielding and lack of planning.
Desperate to win the decider and the series, which is tied 2-2, the home team management on Tuesday asked the ground staff at the Kotla to keep a track of the dew factor that might impact the last ODI. Here the wicket is usually low and slow, but the team is not going to take any chance in this crucial game.
The loss in last two games has put the prowess of Indian bowlers in doubt at the crucial juncture and has come as a reality check. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was thrashed by young Ashton Turner in Mohali where the hosts failed to defend mammoth 358. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal gave away 80 runs from his 10 overs, Kuldeep Yadav conceded 64 runs from his 10.
Kohli read the pitch and other ground conditions wrong. In Ranchi, the team bowled first and in Mohali, .but on both occasions he failed to stop the marauding Aussies, It was dry when India chased in Ranchi but dew helped Australia’s chase in the fourth ODI as the vaunted Indian bowling looked listless..
However with opener Shikhar Dhawan regaining striking form. the Indians will look for another good start. Vijay Shankar has done a reasonably fine job with the bat in the limited chances he has got but Rishabh Pant did not do any good to his wicket-keeping reputation by missing chances in Mohali, but s a batsman, he is great asset to the side .
The top and middle-order is largely settled and tomorrow’s game may be one last chance for Pant, Shankar, K.L. Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to do something special and prove their worth.
The track looks good for wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal while Jadeja may also figure in the side .
For the visitors, Usman Khawaja has been the man for this series. His form at the top has played a huge role in his ‘ turnaround in the series. Getting him early would be crucial to India’s chances.
With skipper Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb and in –form Turner contributing in the team’s good run, this Australian side is now looks on the right track to regain its status as one of the most formidable sides.
The winner-take-all contest will also be the Indian team’s last in the 50-over format before the World Cup, making it the players’ final chance to make an impression on the selectors minds.
Match starts at 1.30 pm.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Alex Carey, Nathan Lyon and Jason Behrendorff.