Australia ponder quick fixes to avoid series defeat | Daily News

Australia ponder quick fixes to avoid series defeat

Vijay Shanker held his nerve in a thrilling finish to the second ODI
Vijay Shanker held his nerve in a thrilling finish to the second ODI

Australia’s victory-run in the Twenty20 Internationals seems a long way behind them, as India, leading 2-0 in the one-day internationals, are keen to wrap up the series in the third game in Ranchi on Friday.

The final over of the second ODI in Nagpur, bowled by Vijay Shankar when Australia needed 11 runs to win with two wickets in hand, yielded just two runs and both the remaining Australian wickets as Shankar held his nerve in a thrilling finish.

That victory, coupled with India’s six-wicket win in the first game in Hyderabad means that Australia have to win everything from here to win the five-match series.

It isn’t that Australia have not fought hard in these games. In Hyderabad, they had India 99/4 in a chase of 237 before Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni led the rescue, and in Nagpur, despite losing wickets through the middle overs, Marcus Stoinis’ measured 52 kept them in the hunt in pursuit of India’s 250.

In both these games, India have been able to handle pressure better than their Australian counterparts and that has been the difference between the sides.

Not all has been without concern for the hosts. Their openers have added 4 and 0 in the two games so far, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma each bagging a duck. It was Virat Kohli’s magnificent 116 on a slow Nagpur surface and a 141-run Jadhav-Dhoni stand in Hyderabad that helped India recover from poor starts.

The bowling, on the other hand, has been flawless. While there has been some assistance from the pitches, the application shown by Kuldeep Yadav (3/54) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/29) in the second ODI and Mohammed Shami (2/44) in the first has helped India restrict Australia to totals below 250.

A little fix at the top of the order and some runs from Ambati Rayudu, who has had a quiet series so far, will help India put on their ‘A’ game. The return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was rested for the first two matches, should also help.

For Australia, the series has been less than satisfactory. They could only put up 236 in Hyderabad after being 133/4 at one stage and couldn’t manage to time the run chase in Nagpur, chasing what was only a par total on that surface.

They’ll want more from their batsmen. The second ODI was an improvement on how they batted in Hyderabad, where Aaron Finch got a duck and both Stoinis and Peter Handscomb couldn’t convert starts. More consistency with the bat will improve Australia’s chance of a comeback.


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