After being absolutely hammered in the second ODI by 10 wickets at Vishakhapatnam, team India will have a lot to ponder about ahead of the series decider to be played in Chennai on Wednesday.
It was India’s heaviest ODI defeat in terms of balls remaining, as Australia won with 39 overs (234 balls) to spare. The three-match series is now level 1-1, after India won the first ODI in Mumbai by five wickets.
It is highly unlikely that India will make any big changes but the team management might tinker a bit. Indian Express argues the inclusion of Shardul Thakur in place of Axar Patel. In the batting order, Hardik Pandya might get a promotion and switch the batting order with out of form Suryakumar Yadav.
On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like Australia will make any changes, which means the veteran opener David Warner will have to warm the bench.
SKY demoted to No 6
Surykumar Yadav’s slump of form is a big concern for Team India. Although skipper Rohit Sharma maintained that the right-handed batter will get a longer run in absence of regular No 4 Shreyas Iyer. In the first two ODI Surya had got successive first ball nought. For a player who wasted no time to feel at home in T20Is, the ODIs were no different for Suryakumar. In his first six ODIs, he had two scores of fifty-plus to go with a 40 and a couple of unbeaten 30s. But since then, it has gone downhill for the 32-year-old who has scores of 9, 8, 4, 34 n,o, 6, 4, 31, 14, 0 and 0 in his last 10 ODIs.
In that case, India might give Hardik Pandya a go at No 4 and demote Suryakumar Yadav to No 6. Pandya has batted at Mo 4 for his IPL franchise Gijrat Giants and had scored 487 runs. The No 6 in ODIs is also aptly suited for Surya’s style of batting. He is at his venomous best when there are lesser overs. This is one of the reasons, why he has thrived in the T20Is. With few balls to face, Surya can turn the game on its head and irrespective of whether there are 5 or 4 fielders inside the circle he can hit boundaries at will and make a mockery out of the captain.
Shardul comes in for Axar
Apart from Virat Kohli, the other India batter, who looked at ease in the second ODI was Axar Patel. The southpaw remained unbeaten on 29. He will be extremely unlucky but will have to make way for Shardul Thakur. With Ravindra Jadeja in the team, Axar Patel’s inclusion doesn’t make any sense and India will be looking to add an extra seamer. If Axar has to play, India might have to drop Kuldeep Yadav, who again has done nothing wrong. It would be harsh on Axar, but to keep the balance intact, he might have to make way for Shardul Thakur.
No place for David Warner
David Warner, missed the first ODI as he is yet to recover from the elbow injury that ruled him out from the Border-Gavaskar Test series. In his absence, Mitchell Starc has stepped up, hitting 81 at Wankhede and 66 not out in Vishakhapatnam has made his case stronger. Travid Head, who failed in the first ODI roared back with an unbeaten 30-ball 51 in the second game. In the second ODI, the duo wasted little time finishing things. It raced to the finish line in just 11 overs as India gave up any hope of a fight back. Their 100-run stand came off only 53 balls.
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Australia XI: Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith (c), Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkatt
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa