Upbeat Australia aim to take series
Tuesday, January 26, Adelaide Oval
Start time 1355 (0325 GMT)
The Big PictureAustralia can wrap up the series with victory in Adelaide after going 2-0 up at the SCG, where they enjoyed their third-greatest winning margin over Pakistan in terms of runs with a 140-run triumph. The visitors will find it difficult to come back in the five-match series but the first step must be to win on Australia Day to ensure the final two games in Perth do not become dead rubbers. To achieve that, they will need a much stronger batting performance than they showed in Sydney, where they were skittled for 127 chasing 268.
Pakistan continue to be haunted by questions over the captaincy. Mohammad Yousuf remains nominally in charge but according to the PCB, won't be for much longer, and Younis Khan was having some say in bowling changes and field placements at the SCG. Captaincy turmoil is a familiar feature of Pakistan sides and it certainly isn't helping their on-field performances. As well as lifting their batting game, they must find a way to restrict Australia through the middle overs and if possible dismiss the hosts, who have lost only five and six wickets in each of the first two ODIs.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WWNWW
Watch out for...Umar Akmal has the type of game that should be suited to the 50-over format but he has not yet fired in this series. His past four ODI innings read 9, 12, 23 and 0, and he will be searching for a big effort to ease any pressure over his place in the middle order. Adelaide, where the bounce is true and the square boundaries are short, is as good a place as any to turn his form around.
After several years of being a bits-and-pieces player, Cameron White has finally found his role in Australia's one-day team as a reliable and powerful No. 5. Since the start of the tour of India in October, White has averaged 47.25 in one-day internationals and has passed fifty in five out of eight innings. He started this series with 105 and 55 and on a good batting surface at Adelaide Oval he could easily take the series out of Pakistan's hands with another brutal display.
Team newsAustralia are unlikely to make any changes to their winning side unless forced to and the only doubt surrounds Peter Siddle, who reported back soreness following Sunday's win. The Queensland fast man Ryan Harris has been added to the squad as a shadow player and could add to his sole ODI appearance if Siddle cannot play. "Peter Siddle experienced some back soreness after last night's ODI in Sydney," Alex Kountouris, the team physio said. "He'll be assessed during the course of the day tomorrow when a decision on his availability for the match at Adelaide Oval will be made."
Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Shaun Marsh, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Cameron White, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Nathan Hauritz, 9 Clint McKay, 10 Peter Siddle/Ryan Harris, 11 Doug Bollinger.
Pakistan lost Mohammad Asif to a hand injury sustained while fielding in the first ODI at the Gabba and he was replaced in Sydney by Umar Gul. They will be hoping Asif has recovered in time for the third match, while the poor batting in Sydney will have Fawad Alam and Khalid Latif thinking about a possible call-up.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf (capt), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Mohammed Aamer, 11 Saeed Ajmal.
Pitch and conditionsAdelaide is renowned as a batsman's paradise but in the past seven ODIs at the venue the highest team total was 255. And in five of the past six there the team batting first has lost the match. It's the sort of ground where batting doesn't get any harder as the day wears on and the team that bats first won't be confident with anything less than 260. The weather should be fine with a high temperature of 33C.
Stats and trivia
- Australia have won 28 of the 39 ODIs they've played at Adelaide Oval; Pakistan have won three of 14 there, including the most recent game between the two sides, in 1996
- Younis Khan is set to play his 200th one-day international. He will be the 12th Pakistan player to reach the milestone and the third in their current squad, behind Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Yousuf
- Australia's attack is so inexperienced in ODIs that their two leading wicket-takers are Shane Watson (104) and Michael Clarke (52)
- This will be the 13th one-day international to be held in Adelaide on Australia Day. The venue has also hosted Test cricket on 17 Australia Days over the years.
Quotes"I have a feeling with this group and the way we have been playing our cricket that we won't let them back into the competition at all."
Ricky Ponting expects Australia to go 3-0 up
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.