Brett’s watch list: Skippers in spotlight for the final ODI
The series is lost but the pride is left to be played for.
India’s performance in the ongoing Australia series has been underwhelming, to say the least, but Kohli’s men still have a game to resurrect the lost regality. I, for one, have been duly entertained by an animated batting display of the Australians, but at the same time, a confound return from India’s bowling attack has left me bewildered.
So as we near the third and the final ODI of the series, here are four players I believe will be worth keeping an eye on.
Watching Virat Kohli bat in the second ODI was a true delight really. The Indian skipper scored his 59th half-century on Sunday, his ninth against the Aussies, and then went on to complete 22,000 international runs. With no Rohit, the onus remains on him to really drive this Indian batting line-up forward.
So as he prepares for the final showdown of the series, I think he’d want to better his tally by hitting another scrumptious knock.
Aaron Finch has now scored two centuries and one half-century in his last five innings against India. The Aussie skipper has, in fact, been involved in three consecutive 100-plus runs partnerships in ODIs in Australia, and thus represents a significant threat for Virat Kohli’s men, who are yet to decode a way to dismiss the opener early in the game.
India have struggled to get a breakthrough in the Powerplay overs. Warner and Finch’s opening stand on Sunday was the fifth consecutive instance where the Indians failed to pick a wicket during that phase. It is, of course, a troublesome statistic for the Men in Blue, but for Finch, I reckon, it is a blessing in disguise.
Ravindra Jadeja is yet to do the talking be it either with the ball or on the field with his fielding. The all-rounder, however, has managed to keep his economy under check. Jadeja was India’s second-best economical bowler in the first ODI and in the second, where the Aussies went all guns blazing, he went for just six runs per over.
Jadeja scored an 11-ball 24 on Sunday and I personally believe he will play an important role in the final game of the series.
Josh Hazlewood has been Australia’s best pacer from the lot so far. He picked three for 55 in the first game and continued his domination by picking two for 59 in the second. Unlike Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, Josh has managed to bowl perfect lines and that has rightly troubled the Indians.
Hazlewood got the better of Virat Kohli in both the ODIs and Finch would right expect a similar showing from his bowler. With Kohli leaving after the first Test, Josh would be eager to continue his good bowling against the Indian skipper while he is around. The Indian batsmen have well and truly decoded Starc and Cummin’s approach and this makes Hazlewood Australia’s trump card for the final ODI.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray