India v Australia, 4th ODI, Ranchi October 22, 2013

India bowling under pressure in Dhoni's Ranchi


Match facts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Start time 1330 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

India's bowlers are usually a much scrutinised lot. As the ODI series moves east to their captain's hometown, Ranchi, the spotlight will shine ever brighter on them. They have conceded more than 300 every time they have bowled in this series. MS Dhoni has warned that one cannot expect his batsmen, powerful as they are, to score that many in every match.

The cricketing world has been conspiring against ODI bowlers for years now, but lamenting about one less deep fielder won't help India. Even nine fielders on the leg-side boundary would not have helped them in Mohali during Ishant Sharma's 30-run over, because James Faulkner's sixes would have cleared them easily. Will the India bowlers be able to keep their cool at the death? Even in Pune, Australia were 264 for 7 in the 47th over before Faulkner took them to 304.

It seems an age ago, going by their current form, but in January, India's bowlers dismissed England for 155 in 42.2 overs in Ranchi's first international match. The fast bowlers found some movement, and the spinners some turn. Dhoni got the chance to hit the winning runs, making it a "perfect script" for him in his hometown. As long as India manage to square the series, he won't care about ideal endings this time. Falling 1-2 behind means India have to win three of four games to take the series.

Australia will know that it was the contributions from the lower order that pushed them past 300 in both their wins. They have started solidly but have lost wickets regularly in the middle. In Mohali, they were tied down by Ravindra Jadeja, who has conceded only 4.60 runs an over this series. With only four men allowed in the deep, the odd pressure-releasing boundary shouldn't be too hard to find.

Form guide

Australia WLWWL (most recent games first)

In the spotlight

Various ODI captains have spoken of the need to preserve wickets against the two new balls and build for an onslaught later. In this context, a strong opening partnership becomes even more important. Australia's openers have put on 56, 110, 74 and 68 so far on the tour. India's openers, in comparison, have managed 12, 26, 176 and 14. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have established themselves at the top this year, and now India need them to be more consistent.

Glenn Maxwell has threatened to cause much damage with a couple of fearsome cameos, as his 53 off 32 in Jaipur highlighted. He's also been involved in a couple of mix-ups that have led to him being run-out. "I need to work on that," Maxwell said. "It's something that's happened to me a few times in the past. Hopefully it stops very soon." Australia will want him to kick on tomorrow.

Team news

Now that the selectors have persisted with Ishant for the rest of the series, the big question is whether he will play in Ranchi. "I hope he will come back strongly tomorrow," Suresh Raina said of his team-mate in the pre-match press conference. If one goes by that statement, Ishant will keep his place. Considering how much Dhoni supported Rohit during his horror run in 2012, backing Ishant for a few more games won't be much of a stretch.

India (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar 11 Ishant Sharma/Jaydev Unadkat

Australia, like India, have played the same XI for the first three games, and there seems to be no pressing reason why they would want to tinker with their combination.

Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Phillip Hughes, 3 Shane Watson, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Adam Voges, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty

Stats and trivia

  • R Ashwin has a higher economy-rate (6.03) than Xavier Doherty (5.63) in this series.
  • Australia's victory in Mohali was their 25th against India in India, the most by any team. West Indies are second with 24


"Ishant has been a quality bowler around the world for a number of years. We respect that but we just came up trumps against him."
Phillip Hughes

"We have bats in hand to counter their bowling, and balls in hand when they bat. You just have to stay positive."
Suresh Raina

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SACHINDER on October 25, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Indian selctor have poor selection of pace atatck for this series. Bhuvneshwar,Mohit,Irphan,Zaheer,Aaron,Shami, thease pacers are very good for indian cricket team.

  • Al on October 24, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    Shami is a good find, but Unadkat is useless. Hopefully we have seen the last of Ishant Sharma. Ishant was "lucky" to have played for so long with such a pathetic record. Let's give a chance to Ishwar Pandey, Sandeep Sharma, Abu Nechim Ahmed, etc.

  • Android on October 23, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Indian Team is Fully dependent on there Bating Strength The Bowler's which they Say are fast bowler there pace is 125 km is this what fast bowler are !! They are only save because on there Bating

  • san on October 23, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    almost third time seeing Kohli jumping onto the ball in the slip........Kohli you are not fielding at point or gully.... this is slip where you let the ball come to you and pouch it, than pounce onto it.... you are trying to catch it, not trying to cut off a four....

    Dhoni's catch was good...

  • san on October 23, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    good bowling so far from Shami... need to get a bit consistent and avoid the short ball which does no good....

  • Android on October 23, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Dropping Bhuvi bad choice. india needs to make early inroads into the Aussie batting and put them under pressure. Dhoni needs to keep the bowlers fielders and the batsman aware that they sre dispensable.


  • san on October 23, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    woke up at 3:45 AM and greatly disappointed to see bhuvi miss out the game... did Dhoni give any indication why at the toss? nothing shown on Willow.

  • san on October 23, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    Wow... Dhoni you amage me.... Even when forced to make a change, you will make sure it has your take Ishant out inevitably, but you take bhuvi also down.....

    hopefully Bhuvi is just rested...

    But looking at the conditions and pitch, Bhuvi would have done wonders today....

  • Peace on October 23, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    Don't know we should appreciate for dropping Ishant, or criticize for dropping Bhuvi. Whats wrong Bhuvi has done till now? and what Vinay has done more? I don't think Shami is going to stop runs at the end. At least Amit Mishra should be included instead Shami.

  • Rinku on October 23, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    To give good performance Ishanth should first cut his hair, bcz of his long hair he can't see where is the ball pitching while bowling....

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