India vs. Australia, 3rd ODI: Predictions and Preview

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India vs. Australia, 3rd ODI: Predictions and Preview
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This seven-match series is heating up nicely after India pulled off the second-highest run chase in ODI history to level things up in Jaipur. As the action moves North to Mohali, Bleacher Report takes a look at who will make the next move in this enthralling contest.

 

Venue: Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali

Date: Saturday, October 19 2013 

Start time: 09:00 BST 

Live on: Sky Sports 3

Weather: Mostly sunny predicting temperatures of up to 35 degrees, cooling to about 24 in the evening according to weathercity.com

 

Overview:

Who will win the 3rd ODI?

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Australia's non-stop schedule doesn't seem to have dampened their enthusiasm, but India's astonishing performance with the bat in Jaipur must have knocked the stuffing out of them.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli scored blistering centuries while Shikhar Dhawan added a rapid 95 to help their country easily chase down a score that the Aussies would have been confident of defending.

Thus, one of the interesting aspects of this match is exactly how will the Baggy Greens' bowlers respond. With the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and James Faulkner all vying for spots in the upcoming Ashes series, getting smashed around the park at nearly 10 an over was not in the script.

Similarly, India's domestic season started a few weeks ago and with forthcoming multi-format series against the West Indies and South Africa on the horizon, places remain up for grabs especially in the bowling ranks.

In particular, pacemen Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar will be looking over their shoulder with Zaheer Khan's rehabilitation continuing. The pair have combined for just four wickets while being clubbed for 267 runs.

But who would want to be a bowler in this series anyway? So far, every team's innings, barring India's reply in the opening game, has totalled more than 300 as the batsmen have filled their boots.

In fact, five players are already in triple figures in terms of runs scored with Sharma and George Bailey closing in on 200. 

With Mohali's wicket not providing fast bowler's with the assistance of days gone by, another high-scoring contest seems in store.

 

Team News

India (from): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jaidev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami.

Australia (from): Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, George Bailey (c), Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.

 

Key Players

India's Virat Kohli has truly tapped into a rich vein of form and looked almost impossible to bowl at in Jaipur during his stunning 52-ball-century. Despite being just 24 years old, the Delhi-born shotmaker has played 115 ODIs and averages 50.92 at a strike rate of 87.42 over his career. 

Mohali has never been his preferred hunting ground with a highest ODI score of just 35, but with Kohli timing the ball majestically the Aussies will be wary of enduring another blistering innings.

For Australia, Aaron Finch's stock continues to rise and rise. Ever since his brutal 156 off just 63 balls in a Twenty20 against England a few months ago, the opener has been on fire. 

With three scores north of 50 in every game on this subcontinental tour, his form show's no sign of letting up, and picking off the Victorian as early as possible will be one of India's prime targets.

 

Prediction

With both sides stuffed full of in-form batting talent this is a tough one to call. Home advantage and perhaps a little bit of road-weariness for the Aussies could come into play, so MS Dhoni's men get the nod. However, one dramatic innings will most likely define this contest.

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