Our prediction is that India will seal the series at the MCG on Friday with a win against Australia!
India leveled the series with a win in the second ODI at Adelaide to set up the series and the tour finale at the MCG on Friday.
Australia did well on the back of a smashing century by Shaun Marsh to set a target of 299 making this the second highest chase at Adelaide had India pulled it off. And India did. Ever so convincingly. Thanks to the chase masters Virat Kohli and, the old horse, MS Dhoni who toiled in the Adelaide heat to keep India alive in the series.
There's not much that Australia did wrong in the second ODI. It will be interesting to see what strategy they form to beat this Indian team. Over to the MCG now for the series decider
Adelaide has not been a high scoring ground recently with the average first innings score to be around 240 in last 10 ODI. However, the pitch looked flat and Australia did well to reach 298 winning the toss and batting first, especially, given the heat and humidity at Adelaide.
Reaching around 150 by the 32nd over the score of 300 looked far for the Aussies. However, once Maxwell and centurion Shaun Marsh started hitting, a score of 330 looked possible. But, once these two got out Australia could only manage 298 helped by a couple of boundaries in the last over by Nathan Lyon.
Aussies bowled decently throughout but there is very little you can do when Kohli is on-song. Barring a certain period of nervousness after Kohli got out, India never looked like losing the match. Aaron Finch is struggling and would have to get some runs at the top and bowlers would have to improve a notch if they are to win the series at the MCG.
AJ Finch (c), JP Behrendorff, AT Carey, PSP Handscomb, UT Khawaja, NM Lyon, SE Marsh, GJ Maxwell, Peter Siddle, JA Richardson, MP Stoinis, N Lyon
Aaron Finch, Jhye Richardson, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey, Peter Siddle, Glenn Maxwell, Billy Stanlake, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Shaun Marsh
Indian middle order was tested at Adelaide in the second ODI. In the recent, past Indian middle order has not been able to close the games but not this time. Chasing 299 India started cautiously. And then Kohli did what he does in chases. A century in conditions that tested his fitness and his grit.
Once he was gone, with India still needing over 8 runs an over, another chase master, MS Dhoni, finished the job with Dinesh Karthik who played a handy cameo of 25 runs. It was Bhubaneshwar though who, with his knuckle-balls, got rid of centurion Shaun Marsh and dangerous Maxwell in 3 balls to blunt Australia’s scoring at the back end of the innings restricting them to much less when it looked like they will reach 330.
Siraj, playing in his first match, had an off day and was worst of the bowlers. India’s top three played well and never let the scoring rate go out of hand. It was as clinical a chase as it can get.
V Kohli (c), RG Sharma, KK Ahmed, A Rayudu, S Dhawan, MS Dhoni, K Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami, RA Jadeja
YS Chahal, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami
The series will be decided at the home of cricket in Australia. The MCG is big in every aspect – the size and the prestige. The average score in the first innings in the last 10 matches is 281.
Toss is irrelevant at this ground as the teams batting first have won exactly 50% of the matches over the years.
However, the teams winning the toss should Bat first and then look defend it on a big ground where hitting out is not easy.
The India tour of Australia fittingly ends at the MCG with the series still undecided. Both teams have competed fiercely over the course of the last one and half months and each of them would be looking to end it on a high. India having already won the Test series, their first ever, a win here would be icing on the cake.
Our prediction is that India would defeat the Australians at the MCG to claim the ODI series and make this an even more successful tour than it already is!
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