India to face Aussies in must-win at Kotla on Wednesday

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 12, 2019 21:47 hrs

[India], Mar 12 (ANI): India would have liked to secure the five-match series and then fiddle with their combination. But Australia snatched victory from jaws of defeats to level at 2-2, leaving the hosts to decide between winning the series or giving the World Cup aspirant last chance in the fifth ODI at Ferozshah Kotla Stadium on March 13.

The pitch in Kotla is batting friendly. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had a purple patch when they last time played here against New Zealand in 2017. Dhawan, whose batting was getting leaner since the Asia Cup last year, silenced the pundits with his signature century and career-best 115-ball 143 in the fourth match in Mohali.

However, the middle order continues to struggle. Ambati Rayudu is neither a power hitter nor energetic at rotating strike. Batting at number four, he has found it difficult to get quick runs against leg-spinner Adam Zampa and fast bowler Pat Cummins.

Vijay Shankar, on the other hand, is efficient at rotating strike. The all-rounder possesses good control with the ball too, making his case stronger in the World Cup squad. The absence of MS Dhoni from the remainder of the series opened the door for Rishabh Pant, who played in the fourth match but remained sloppy behind stumps.

Australia captain Aaron Finch returned to form with a 99-ball 93 in the third game —his first 50-plus in 22 innings. He along with Usman Khawaja stitched a 193-run opening stand, registering the fourth highest on Indian soil.

Meanwhile, substituting for an injured Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner shocked India to tie the series in Mohali. The middle-order batsman is expected to get another chance in the decider, which will help him solidify his position and become a strong contender in Australia’s World Cup squad.

Turner took on Indian bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to score an unbeaten 84 and take his side over the line. The formidable Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav also failed to get an early break-through when the situation was well in control.

The momentum is firmly in Australia’s favour as they had chased down a 359 total by four wickets and 13 balls remaining in the fourth game. Tied at 2-2, the teams will play the fifth ODI at the Ferozshah Kotla Ground, which may support slow bowlers, on Wednesday, March 13. (ANI)