Never before has India achieved a whitewash against the formidable Australian cricket team in the ODI format.Remarkably, the same holds true for Australia when it comes to facing India, both at home and away, regardless of the number of matches contested in a series.
The Indian team, despite missing some of its top players and experimenting with various playing combinations to ensure every squad member gains valuable match experience, has found itself in a commanding position with three consecutive ODI wins on the horizon.Should India manage to secure a 3-0 victory in the series, it would not only be a historic achievement but also provide them with a substantial advantage over the five-time world champions, Australia. The two teams are scheduled to meet again in Chennai on October 8 for their World Cup opener, and India’s potential clean sweep would undoubtedly give them a psychological edge.
The first two ODIs witnessed India’s dominance, even as both teams made numerous changes to preserve their star players’ freshness and provide opportunities to fringe squad members. Notably, India’s young sensation Shubman Gill, who has amassed an impressive 1,230 runs in the ODI format this World Cup year, has been rested for the final ODI. His absence is expected to be felt keenly.
However, the return of batting stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, along with the in-form Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya from a brief rest, is anticipated. KL Rahul, who led the team admirably in Rohit’s absence, has also made crucial contributions with the bat and behind the stumps.
India’s resurgence has been characterised by the emergence of talents such as Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj, who have bolstered the squad’s depth.
In a boost for India, Shreyas Iyer overcame early struggles to notch a century, strengthening his position in the middle order. The impeccable form of Rahul and the return of Jasprit Bumrah, India’s premier bowler, after a lengthy injury lay-off, add to the team’s confidence.
Meanwhile, the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin seeks to make his presence count in the squad, despite competition from the injured Axar Patel.
On the other hand, Australia find themselves in a precarious position, having suffered consecutive defeats in the series. A few months ago, the same Australian side had prevailed 2-1 over India, largely due to Mitchell Starc‘s brilliance with the ball.
With the World Cup on the horizon, Australia may be tempted to field their preferred bowling attack, featuring Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. However, their batting lineup has lacked firepower, with Travis Head struggling at the top and Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne enduring a challenging year in Indian conditions.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Josh Inglis (wk), Matthew Short, Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa.
Time: 1:30pm IST.
(With inputs from PTI)