The three-match ODI series between Australia and India will be decided in Melbourne on Friday after the Indians drew level at one game apiece with a win in Adelaide. The series decider will get underway at 1.20pm from the MCG and we have a full preview and betting tips for the game below.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Australians set a great target of 298 led by a brilliant hundred from Shaun Marsh. Marsh scored 131 off just 123 balls to lead the Australians while Glenn Maxwell chipped in with a valuable 48 off 37 in the back end of the innings. For the Indians, it was seamer Bhuveshwar Kumar who was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 4-45 off his 10 overs while Mohammed Shami was also impressive with 3-58.
In reply, the Indians got off to a fairly decent start with opener Shikhar Dhawan compiling a quickfire 32 off just 28 balls. However, it was skipper Virat Kohli who stole the show with a superb 104 off 112 balls. Kohli steered the Indians throughout the middle portion of the game before veteran match winner, Ms Dhoni, did what he does best, playing a blazing late game innings to help the Indians win the game with just four balls to spare.
The win sets up a thrilling tiebreaker at the MCG on Friday, one that the Aussies will be desperate to claim after a disappointing Test series loss. For the Indias, a win draw them closer to the top spot in the ICC One Day rankings, where they currently trail England by just six points.
The home side will be happy with their batting performance in the second game on Tuesday, which is more than they can say for the majority of their summer so far. Shaun Marsh will have probably bought a place in the 2019 World Cup squad with his hundred and for many others, this Friday’s game will be one of the last opportunities to impress selectors.
Aaron Finch’s dismal summer with the bat continued as he was bowled yet again for just six runs while Alex Carey looks a little out of place at the top of the order despite some good form in the Big Bash League so far. Glenn Maxwell continues to impress and will be disappointed his form couldn’t earn him selection in the Test squad to play Sri Lanka starting on the 24th of January.
On the bowling front, the Aussies stayed with the three-pronged pace attack of Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Peter Siddle with Marcus Stoinis offering relief. Billy Stanlake waits in the wins and should surely get a call up for Friday while Adam Zampa could potentially give Nathan Lyon a chop out before the Tests against Sri Lanka fire up. However, the fact that Friday is a series deciding game makes us think the Aussie selectors will stick with their best XI, whatever they think that is.
The Indians will be happy with their performance in Adelaide, but they will be hoping to get a little more out of opener Shikhar Dhawan moving forward. The No.9 ranked ODI batsman in the world hasn’t made a fifty in his last eight ODI innings, dating back to a 114 against Pakistan in September of last year. With the World Cup coming up in a few months and the likes of Rishbah Pant, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane breathing down his neck, this could be a massive game for the hard-hitting opener.
The Indians didn’t miss the No.1 ranked ODI bowler in the world, Jasprit Bumrah, as much in the second ODI. The pace attack of Kumar and Shami bowled extremely well but it was the spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Jadeja who were disappointing.
The MCG proved to be a great batting wicket for the Indians in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test. They compiled 443 runs led by a brilliant hundred from Cheteshwar Pujara while Virat Kohli also compiled 82. The Hobart Hurricanes were able to score 185 runs from their 20 overs in their BBL game against the Stars at the MCG on Monday night, proving that it is still a great batting deck.
The Indians have the superior batting line-up heading into this game, that much is clear. While we think a lot relies on who wins the toss and inevitably decides to bat first, we also think the Indians are a great target setting or target chasing team, as they showed on Tuesday night.
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