Australia have registered convincing wins in the first two ODIs despite lacking the experience. India and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be worried that his bowlers have failed to defend a 300-plus total in two consecutive games. Will the Indian team bounce back and gain some kind of momentum in the series? Get live scores and updates here. (LIVE SCORECARD | SCHEDULE | NEWS | VIDEOS | PHOTOS)
9:28 IST: Brilliant drive from Kohli and equally well fielded by Finch. Dhawan then hits one through the covers to bring their half-century stand off 67 balls. Much-needed one for India after Rohit departed early. India have managed to maintain 4.12 runs per over so far in the innings but their primary objective will be to keep wickets in had for late flourish. India are 67/1 after 16 overs.
9:28 IST:50 up for India!! India bring their 50-run mark with a boundary from Dhawan. The Indian opener is looking good in the middle as he smashed Faulkner for a boundary towards midwicket. The Kohli-Dhawan duo have steadied the ship as they have put on a 36-runs stand so far to help India shake off the early jitters. India are 41/1 after 13 overs.
9:28 IST: James Faulkner now introduced as Kohli creams one through the off side -but mid-on fielder saves three runs. Another mis-field from George Bailey gives Dhawan a single. India has been dealing in singles so far as they have collected four singles. Kohli clips off his pads for a boundary to bring up 7000 runs in ODI cricket. India are 43/1 after 10 overs.
9:15 IST: Richardson tests Virat Kohli with a short-pitch stuff as India’s No. 3 awkwardly pulls one for a single. The Australian opening bowlers are hitting the deck hard. And as we speak, Richardson follows it with a wide. Kohli clips off his pads for a single. India are 22/1 after 7 overs.
9:10 IST:WICKET!!! Kane Richardson removes in-form Rohit for six. The India opener who had smashed back-to-back tons in the first two ODIs, edged one to Matthew Wade off Kane Richardson. India are 16/1 after 5 overs.
— Damien Fleming (@bowlologist) January 17, 2016
9:05 IST: Dhawan clips one over the infield to get his second boundary in the fourth over. Not a convincing shot but still couple of boundaries should help India opener’s cause. Dhawan smashed one through covers, but Aaron Finch was there to stop it. MCG has been a happy hunting ground for Dhawan as he had smashed a brilliant ton here at the MCG in World Cup. India are 15/0 after 4 overs.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 17, 2016
8:55 IST: Dhawan gets off the mark in emphatic fashion with a brilliant straight drive off John Hastings off the final ball of the second over. India are 9/0 after 2 overs.
8:50 IST: Kane Richardson will open the proceedings for Australia. Rohit Sharma flicks the third ball of the innings — thankfully for him, it lands out of reach of Mitch Marsh gets two runs. Dhawan sees off two balls from Richardson. India are 2/0 after 1 overs.
8:45 IST: Shikhar Dhawan has failed with the bat, despite looking good in the warm-up games. Bright and sunny MCG welcome the team as they players walk out top the middle.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 17, 2016
8:33 IST: Makes sense to include Gurkeerat Singh as India was lacking a finisher. Rishi Dhawan would add variety to bowling attack on this MCG drop-in pitch.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) January 17, 2016
8:20 IST:Australia win toss!! Australia has won the toss and has elected to bowl first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Team India have made two changes to their side bringing in two debutants — Gurkeerat Singh Maan and Rishi Dhawan into the team in place of Ravichandran Ashwin and Manish Pandey.
In Perth and Brisbane, India won the toss and chose to bat first. They posted a total of 300-plus and all seemed fine in the world. However, when it was their turn to bowl, it became a nightmare as they failed to defend 309 and 308 respectively. Heading into the third ODI in Melbourne, Mahendra Singh Dhoni might opt to bowl considering the fact that their batsmen look to be in decent from. (India Look to Arrest Bowling Slump, Aim to Stay Alive Ahead of Third ODI in Melbourne)
The Indian skipper has lamented the “freebies” his bowlers have offered to the hosts in Perth as well as in Brisbane and urged his bowlers to stop giving easy runs. “In both the games we have given fair amount of extras, and that takes that number of runs off the total score. The breeze was also circulating around and that made it slightly difficult for Ishant Sharma. I feel even if we don’t cut down the extras, we’ll have to score a few more runs,” Dhoni had said at the end of the second ODI game. (Mahendra Singh Dhoni Struggling But Give Him Time, Says Sunil Gavaskar)
The skipper’s form is also a source of concern. In his last five innings, Dhoni scores are 47, 15, 27, 18 and 11 and he is certainly going through a lean patch. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels that not playing competitive cricket regularly is affecting Dhoni’s form. (India vs Australia: Mahendra Singh Dhoni Wants Batsmen to Take Extra Pressure After Bowlers’ Poor Show)
“Dhoni used to be a finisher who was India’s pride and the world’s envy. But he is struggling now. May be he is being affected for not playing competitive cricket regularly,” Gavaskar told NDTV.