The Big Picture
How often does it happen? We are into the 5th ODI of the 5-match series in India and we still do not have a winner. How often do you see an ODI series in India going into the final encounter with the stakes at an all-time high? Or how many times do you see an Indian side losing two games in a row at home? To find the answers to the first question, you'll have to go back to the ODI series against South Africa in October 2015, and for the second, to the January of 2013, where MS Dhoni-led side lost the first two ODIs against Pakistan to squander the 3-match series.
This series was expected to be a dress-rehearsal for Team India as they looked to finetune the chinks that they had in their armor before embarking on a flight to England for the World Cup. The result or the scoreline was never really a concern; it was more about giving enough game time to their fringe players [Read: Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul]. It looked to go that way after India edged Australia out in Nagpur and Hyderabad, but a clinical win at Ranchi and jail-break, courtesy Ashton Turner, at Mohali, the series is currently locked at 2-2 and with a considerable threat to their proud home record looming, it leaves India with no room or cushion for experimentation.
In a way, India wouldn't mind engaging in a high-pressure game considering the fact that the next ODI game that they'll play will be a World Cup warm-up game in London. With a proud home-record, looming It will help them test themselves in a crunch situation and see how they respond. As per Virat Kohli's admission, the team has had plenty of wake-up calls in this series. India has gnawing problems to address. The team has been very sloppy in the field, and the debate around the No.4 spot is yet to be settled.
With Dhawan and Rohit notching up a 193-run stand, India did not get much of a chance to look at KL Rahul's credentials in the middle-order. He is expected to get another chance for Ambati Rayudu hasn't painted himself in a glorious picture after a series of failures in the series. Dew played a massive role at Mohali, so, the bowling unit is likely to get retained for the decider but the question still hovers around what is India's best possible playing 11 for the World Cup.
As for Australia, whatever happens in the 5th ODI, they have already gained a lot out of this series. Fifteen months ago, they came to India with both David Warner and Steven Smith in their line-up and were comprehensively swatted aside. So, to come to India, sans their two best batsmen and to take the series into the 5th ODI against a side that they are yet to beat in an ODI series in India since 2009 [4-2] is a monumental achievement.
Aaron Finch's return-to-form, the ability of their middle-order to counter India's spin bowlers as we saw in Mohali, and the emergence of Ashton Turner to go along with a potent fast bowling unit and a leg-spinner who can take wickets and change the game in the middle-overs, are some of the positives for Justin Langer's side from the series. This is the Australia that we know. This is the Australia that has given plenty to think for the Indian team. But, with proud home-record at stake, Will India strike back or will the lightning strike thrice?
Venue- Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi
Match Timing- Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 01:30 PM IST
What to expect?
The last ODIs played at the venue have been won by the sides' batting first, but with due playing a part thus far in this series, it will be interesting to see what the captains decide at the toss.
Do you know?
- India has not lost an ODI series at home since their 2-3 defeat against South Africa back in 2015.
- The last time Australia beat India in an ODI series in India was back in 2009 when the Ricky Ponting-led unit won 4-2 in a seven-match series.
- There have only been four occasions of a side winning a 5-match ODI series after losing the first two ODIs; Australia has never achieved the feat in their ODI history.
- Rohit Sharma needs 46 more runs to reach 8,000 ODI runs which will make him the third joint-fastest to do so.
- If India wins the 5th ODI, it will be their 50th ODI victory under Virat Kohli.
Team News & Playing 11
With due playing a major part at Mohali, India should retain their bowling combination while questions still hover around the No.4 spot. Will KL Rahul get another chance or will see Ambati Rayudu make a comeback in the playing 11?
Playing 11- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli [c], Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
With Marcus Stoinis injured, Alex Carey is likely to keep his place in the playing 11. No other changes are expected in the Aussie line-up.
Playing 11- Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey, Ashton Turner, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendroff, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa