From the fumble and stumble at the Wankhede stadium to discovering a ‘multi-dimensional’ player in KL Rahul, who played a key role in the 36-run win at the SCA stadium, India have ensured the series heads into a cracker of a decider at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
The contests between the two sides at the venue has been mostly riveting. It’s a place where Steve Smith had his ‘brain fade’ moment during the 2017 Test match. Rohit Sharma has slammed a sizzling double century here as well.
But the venue hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Virat Kohli and his men in recent times. The home side’s previous two matches have been T20Is which they have lost by heavy margins to Australia (seven wickets) and South Africa (nine wickets). In contrast, Australia will have no complaints on the traditionally batting friendly track, which has ensured they have won three of the last four ODIs here.
Ironically, the contest pits two captains – Kohli and Aaron Finch – against each other, just a couple of months before they return to the city as IPL teammates for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
WILL SHIKHAR, ROHIT BE FIT?
India’s injury concerns swelled in Rajkot. While Shikhar Dhawan took a Pat Cummins delivery on the elbow and then the ribcage, Rohit left the field after hurting his left shoulder while fielding in the deep.
The BCCI in a statement said the duo’s participation will be finalized on match day. “Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are progressing well. Their recovery is being closely monitored and a call on their participation in the final ODI will be taken before the match.”
Rishabh Pant, who suffered a concussion during the Mumbai match, hit the nets on Saturday but it is unclear if he will be back in the squad or whether Rahul will continue with wicketkeeping duties.
MIDDLE-ORDER SOLUTION IN SIGHT?
In cricket, it is never an easy proposition when you bat in different positions in successive games. Kohli at number four didn’t work in Mumbai. Rahul, on that count, stepped up beautifully. Batting at one-down in the opener and coming in at no. 6 in the next game and scoring a defining 52-ball 80 showcased his adaptability. That said, to judge the sustainability of the batting line-up from one innings is foolhardy. Sunday offers another opportunity to experiment.
In a high-scoring compact park with a quick outfield, the focus will be on the bowlers and Australia are unlikely to tinker with their attack. It is never easy to bowl on a surface such as this and with the series on line, the Aussie bowlers spearheaded by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will be keen to come out with their ‘A’ game.