Big Picture: Last dance before big names return
With key senior players from India and Australia set to slot into their respective XIs for the third ODI in Rajkot later, Sunday’s fixture in Indore is perhaps the final chance for any fringe player to make an impression.
Also part of their agenda would be to get their batting performance right. In Mohali, six of their top seven reached at least 29, but only David Warner reached fifty. However, they’ll know the wickets were a combination of incisive fast bowling from Mohammed Shami and a few fortuitous moments going India’s way.
But, every team at the World Cup will have a Shami equivalent, and therefore a second consecutive jolt against India’s fast bowlers would be a sign of worry. Mitchell Marsh, in particular, would want to settle himself in Indian conditions as the opener. Josh Hazlewood’s possible return would also boost their bowling.
For India, it will be another opportunity to weigh out the benefit of three frontline fast bowlers versus the combo of two quicks and one seamer. Shami was sensational in Mohali with his five-for, but Shardul Thakur went wicketless for 78 runs. In the grand scheme of things, these are good problems to have, but the downside of too many choices is that you the odds of making a wrong choice are also higher. R Ashwin’s bowling will also be a key subplot.
As for the batting, Mohali couldn’t have been any more clinical, with four of their top six getting half-centuries. India could try to push Ishan Kishan as opener instead of Ruturaj Gaikwad, but apart from that, their best-case scenario is more runs from their middle order. There will be special emphasis on Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav, the latter having just scored a fifty of his own in Mohali.
India WWLWW (last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight: Iyer and Labuschagne
Team news: Hardie for Stoinis?
India could rest Jasprit Bumrah and have Mohammed Siraj partner alongside Shami. If Washington Sundar has to play, Kishan has to open and Gaikwad has to be left out. Kuldeep Yadav is rested.
India (possible): 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad/Ishan Kishan, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Mohammed Siraj/Jasprit Bumrah.
Marcus Stoinis is unlikely to play back-to-back games, so allrounder Aaron Hardie could slot in. If Australia want to go a little light on batting, Hazlewood for Stoinis is also possible. Alex Carey is set to don the gloves again, but it may not necessarily be at the expense of Josh Inglis.
Australia (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Cameron Green, 6 Alex Carey, 7 Josh Inglis/Aaron Hardie, 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Sean Abbott, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
- Shubman Gill is the only batter to hit four or more ODI centuries in 2023. His average this year is 70-plus and his strike rate is 104.84.
- In 42 innings, Shardul Thakur has conceded at least 7 per over 14 times – that’s once every three games.
- With a 4-5 record, Australia have lost more ODIs than they have won in 2023.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx