Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Team India are feeling the heat after the loss in Canberra. The team has failed to win against Australia in any format since 2013. Heading into the final game in Sydney, Dhoni and his men will be determined to stop Australia’s relentless march and gain some consolation. Catch all the live scores and updates here (LIVE SCORECARD | NEWS | VIDEOS):
In the last five ODIs, India have conceded scores of 438/4, 310/5, 309/3, 296/7 and 348/8. A total of 1701 runs and only 27 wickets taken. If one has to point out the major problem for India and their ODI woes, it is the bowling unit which has leaked plenty of runs and failed to bowl out oppositions even once.(Dhoni & Co. Look to Avoid Whitewash)
The problem has been fatally exposed in Australia. In Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, India’s inefficient bowling has allowed the five-time world champions to achieve record run-chases at the venue while in Canberra, India played like the 90s where they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. At 277/1, they looked to be breaking the jinx but a dramatic collapse of nine wickets for 46 runs gave Australia a magnificent victory.
Poor Bowling a Big Problem for Dhoni
There is still plenty at stake for Dhoni and his men. A win in Sydney will mean India will remain in the second spot in ODIs, a big consolation. The batting, in particular, the exploits of the top three, have been superb. After a slow start, Shikhar Dhawan has roared back to form with scores of 68 and 126 in the third and fourth ODIs. Rohit Sharma is also in great form but Virat Kohli, continues his love affair with Australia, becoming the leading run-scorer in the series with 373 runs.(Kohli Says India Determined to Win)
The rich form shown by the top three has exposed the inability of the lower-middle order to finish off games. MS Dhoni has been in poor form and his finishing touches have deserted him. With Ajinkya Rahane in doubt for the final ODI due to split webbing, Manish Pandey is likely to slot back in but India will be lacking the experience in the middle order. With the SCG offering turn, Ravichandran Ashwin could make a comeback and partner Ravindra Jadeja.
The bowlers are a real concern. They have been unable to stop the flow of runs neither have they looked like taking wickets. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Barinder Sran have been good only in patches. This double whammy has given Dhoni a real problem and India will need something spectacular to turn their woeful bowling around.(Kohli Honoured to be Compared to Viv)
Another loss could turn the heat on Dhoni even further. Mohinder Amarnath and Erapalli Prasanna have stated that they would want to see Virat Kohli take up the captaincy in all three formats as soon as possible. The onus is on Dhoni to salvage some pride at the SCG.(Amarnath Wants Kohli to Replace Dhoni as Skipper)
Australia Aiming for Whitewash
There are only few problems in the Australian camp though. They have won 18 matches on-the-trot at home, which is a new record. The batting has been in devastating form. The bowling, which looked vulnerable in the absence of Mitchell Starc due to injury, has held up well, thanks to the likes of Kane Richardson and John Hastings.(Smith Keen to Pile on the Misery)
Steve Smith has said that he wants to pile on the misery for Dhoni and his men. However, he has also pointed out that he is disappointed with the nature of wickets in this series and wants some pace and bounce.
The only distraction for Australia has been the talk of Glenn Maxwell’s comment that India’s batsmen have been selfish and driven by milestones. However, Maxwell might not make it for the Sydney match as he is suffering from a knee injury which he sustained in Canberra.
Only one thing might halt Australia’s march towards a clean sweep. Rain is forecast on Saturday and the match could be a truncated one. However, both teams will be aware that a strong showing in the final ODI puts them in a good frame of mind ahead of the Twenty20 internationals and the ICC World Twenty20.(Finch Does Not Agree With Maxwell’s Views on Indian Batsmen)
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith (capt), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, John Hastings, Kane Richardson, Nathan Lyon
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Gurkeerat Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma