India vs. Australia ODI Series 2013: Key Batsmen and Bowlers in 3rd ODI
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.
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.
In a game of 7 or 8 an over, hats off to Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 10-0-54-0. Quite clearly the man of the match...— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) October 16, 2013
While his team-mates were dispatched with ease in Jaipur, all going at more than six runs an over—and some far worse—Kumar 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.
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.
1 - Shikhar Dhawan is now part of both the highest Test and ODI first wicket partnerships for India against Australia. Liking. #IndvAus— OptaJim (@OptaJim) October 16, 2013
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.
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.
Which player is most crucial to the Third ODI?
No Australian has hit more than his five sixes so far and India will hope to contain him far better in Mohali.
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.
The left-armer remains the bowler India will be most cautious with.
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