The much touted battle between the two top ranked ODI sides is finally drawing to a close in Bangalore. The series, that saw plenty of runs and two washouts, is brilliantly poised at 2-2 with both teams having everything to play for in the decider. The teams have been in scintillating batting form and the Chinnaswany Stadium at Bangalore is all set to witness yet another run-fest.
The last game, which was almost a repeat telecast of the Rajasthan ODI, saw India chase down a mammoth 350 runs with some outstanding batting performances from Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The Australian batsmen too, had their share of fun as George Bailey and Shane Watson made a mockery of the wafer-thin Indian bowling.
Chinnaswamy brings more bad news for the bowlers as it would be no different from the other venues with the wicket being a batsmen’s paradise. However, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina can breathe a sigh of relief as Mitchell Johnson has head back to Australia to prepare for the upcoming Ashes. For India, Ravindra Jadeja may be a doubtful starter as the left-handed all rounder was left out of the West Indies Test series with a strained shoulder.
India has had a mixed bag series. While their top three consisting of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli has fired in all cylinders, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina has failed miserably. They have been constantly struggled against the pace and bounce of Mitchell Johnson and has looked completely out of sorts.
The Indian bowling has been a wreck and it continued to be even in the last game. Neither the medium pacers not the spinners were able to clear an impact and Australia made merry on a docile track. Bhubneshwar Kumar was the saving grace as the rest of the cast disappeared over the fence regularly.
Even the inclusion of the leg spinner, Amit Mishra, didn’t change things. Mishra bowled well in the initial couple of overs and the Australians struggled to pick up his wrong ones. However, he suddenly lost his bearing and went on to dish out long hopes that were carted all around the ground by George Bailey and Shane Watson.
Nothing is expected to change much in the final ODI as MS Dhoni clearly doesn’t have enough ammunition in his ranks as far as bowling is concerned. He would love to replicate his tried and tested formula of chasing and hope the top three piles up the runs again.
The more Australia score, the harder the Indians come at them. This is a tough one for Australia and it should be when you lose two games after scoring 350 plus. George Bailey clearly has no clue about how to stop Kohli and has lacked a plan B in the previous two run chases. Personally, Bailey hasn’t done much wrong. He has been in blistering form and has surprised his critics with his matured display at the crease. He is knocking on the door of the Test squad and might well find a place in the Ashes series.
However, his bowlers, except Mitchell Johnson, has got it all wrong. Clint McKay has done precious little to support Johnson and Xavier Doherty is never the best bet to pick up wickets. Now with Johnson returning to Australia, Bailey’s job just got that much harder.
Australia will look to win the toss and put India in first because on these flat tracks, no score looks safe and defendable in front of this present Indian batting order.
Amit Mishra’s debut on home soil went completely sideways after the first couple of overs. He is expected to be replaced by Jaydev Unadkat, who incidentally plays for the Royal Challengers of Bangalore. Although Jadeja has been omitted from the Test squad, India would like to field him in the last game as he gives MS Dhoni an extra option with the ball. If he fails to make it, it would be interesting to see whether India includes an extra batsman in Ambati Rayudu or beefs up their bowling by fielding Vinay Kumar.
Expected XI India: MS Dhoni (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja/ Ambati Rayudu/Vinay Kumar, R, Ashwin, Md, Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra/Jaydev Unadkat
For Australia, the batting will remains settled while they need someone to fill in the shoes of Mitch Johnson. The Mumbai Indians fast bowler would most likely be replaced by his IPL team mate Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Expected XI Australia: George Bailey (c), Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Glen Maxwell, Adam Voges, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint McKay
Prediction: Another run fest ending in an Indian victory.