Welcome to the coverage of the fifth and final One-Day International between India and Australia in New Delhi on Wednesday.
It’s all to play for the two teams with the series locked at 2-2.
Australia have the momentum on their side with back to back wins after they had lost the first two games.
The world-class attack including the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav struggled on a flat track in Mohali as they failed to defend a 350-plus total. The blazing knock by Ashton Turner, who was helped by the Indian team’s butter-fingered fielders helped Australia turn it around in style in the last few overs.
In the third ODI in Ranchi, the team bowled first and in the next match in Mohali, Kohli opted to bat first, taking the dew into consideration but on both days, the opposite happened. It was dry when India chased in Ranchi but dew helped Australia’s chase in the fourth ODI with the Indian bowlers struggling to grip the ball.
Not many runs have been scored in the last two ODI matches played in Delhi with India losing to New Zealand by six runs in October 2016 and winning against West Indies by 48 runs in October 2014.
Going by history, the surface should be ideal for wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as the slow bowlers have done well in the previous games.
Usman Khawaja has been the man for Australia this series. His stellar show at the top has been instrumental in the visitors’ turnaround in the series and getting him early would be crucial to India’s chances.
With captain Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb and new sensation Turner contributing in the team’s good run, this Australian side is definitely on the right track to regain its status as one of the most formidable sides.
The series-deciding contest will also be the Indian team’s last in the 50-over format before the World Cup, making it the players’ final chance to make an impression on the selectors minds.
Vijay Shankar has done a reasonably fine job with the bat in the limited chances he has got. But the young Rishabh Pant’s World Cup chances were dealt a big blow after he missed an easy stumping chance in Mohali to give Turner a lifeline which proved to be the turning point of the match and he has also not made a case for himself with the bat in limited overs cricket.
The top and middle-order is largely settled and Wednesday’s game will be one last chance for Pant, Shankar, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to do something special and stake their claim for a place in the World Cup team.