Cricket

India vs. Australia ODI Series 2013: Key Batsmen and Bowlers in 3rd ODI

CARDIFF, WALES - JUNE 20: Shikhar Dhawan of India during the ICC Champions Trophy Semi-Final match between India and Sri Lanka at the SWALEC Stadium on June 20, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Matt CheethamCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2013

After two contrasting encounters, India and Australia square off for round three of their lengthy one-day international series, with the third ODI at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.

The first two games have both been particularly high-scoring affairs, with more than 1,250 runs scored in just four innings and less than 200 overs.

The distinct gap between bat and ball has arguably diminished the contest as a spectacle at times—despite India's incredible run chase last time out—and, while fans cherish multiple boundaries, the frequency with which the rope has been found has arguably become repetitive.

Bowlers have seen their best efforts dispatched to the boundary with no assistance given by the flat tracks and evening dew, especially in the second ODI. Both sides will hope for a closer battle between bat and ball in this coming match.

Here's a look at each side's key batsmen and bowlers for Saturday's clash.

 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India's attack has been pulverised in both matches so far, with Australia posting 302 and 359. Vinay Kumar has picked up a few wickets but been expensive, while Ishant Sharma has been horribly wayward.

Australia have maintained their Ashes' philosophy of attacking spin, making life hard for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, meaning Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the only bowler to offer any control.

While his team-mates were dispatched with ease in Jaipur, all going at more than six runs an over—and some far worseKumar returned respectable figures of 10-0-54-0. He also bowled two maidens and went for under six runs an over in the first match, as others again struggled.

If Kumar can add a couple of early wickets to his frugal opening bursts, ideally with some seamer-friendly conditions, India's batsmen will be chasing far less daunting targets over the rest of the series. Australia are yet to get on top of him.

 

Shikhar Dhawan

It's easy to sway towards one of the century-makers in Jaipur, or indeed any of India's elite batsmen; however, Shikhar Dhawan has been in such sensational form that he merits this title.

Chasing 359, while Rohit Sharma was more measured in his attack, Dhawan bludgeoned the Australian bowlers all over the park, giving his side confidence that the mammoth target was attainable.

His 95 from 86 balls laid the platform for his team as he continually charged the bowlers and dissected the field with precision. He failed to post a significant score in the first ODI, but his consistent form makes him such a dangerous factor.

Virat Kohli certainly pushes him close and is another important weapon but much of the pressure had been lifted as he hit his electric 100.

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 14:  George Bailey of Australia hits out during the 4th Natwest Series One Day International between England and Australia at the SWALEC Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

 

George Bailey

George Bailey has been in fine form so far in India, hitting 85 from 82 balls in Pune and smashing 92 from just 50 balls in Jaipur.

All of Australia's batsmen have been in impressive touch, with five passing 50 already. However, it's Bailey who's looked the most comfortable at the crease.

In the absence of Michael Clarke, Bailey is crucial in the middle overs as he looks to maintain and extend fast starts, then accelerate through to the end of the innings.

No Australian has hit more than his five sixes so far and India will hope to contain him far better in Mohali.

 

Mitchell Johnson

As with Kumar, Mitchell Johnson has offered the most control and threat to batsmen, while most of his team-mates have been hit over the ropes.

Johnson's been in fine form since the IPL, bowling as fast as ever. Aided by the slightest bit of assistance, he would be regularly troubling most Indian batsmen with a potent mix of bouncers and yorkers.

He will be disappointed to have collected just the one wicket so far, but his 1-38 in Pune deserved a far better return and, until the latter stages, he maintained decent figures in Jaipur.

The left-armer remains the bowler India will be most cautious with.

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