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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
October 29, 2013
Match factsWednesday, October 30, 2013
Big PictureTo those who might have forgotten, this series is still going on in the background. It's been 10 days since there has been a result in this series, and by choosing to play in Lahli, Sachin Tendulkar has pushed it completely off the headlines. You always run that risk when testing the fans' patience with a seven-ODI series, but the good news is, the weather should hold up for the last two games, and the series between the top 2 ODI teams.
Rest assured, there will be no rain pouring down in Nagpur. Only fours and sixes. The new Jamtha stadium is known for its flat pitches in ODIs. Of the six ODIs played here, first-innings totals in five have been more than 290. Netherlands scored 292 here against England, India failed to defend 296 once. Add to it the new regulations of two balls from each end, and only four fielders outside the circle, and another run fest is in store.
The No. 1 ranking is off the table - Australia needed to win 6-1 or better to usurp India - but India need to win this one to avoid yet another home series loss against Australia. This is their sixth proper home series against Australia, and they have won only once, back in 1986-87.
For Australia, once a happy hunting ground, Nagpur has only brought misery since moving to the new stadium in Jamtha. They have played this ground's debut Test and ODI, and have lost both. In the Test, Ricky Ponting chose to avoid an over-rate ban as opposed to pushing for a series-levelling win; and in the ODI, MS Dhoni brutalised them 354 for 7. Except that nowadays, you can't be sure of a win even after scoring 354.
Form guideAustralia WLWWL (most recent games first, completed matches)
In the spotlightFive balls, one run, two wickets. Mitchell Johnson v Yuvraj Singh has been terribly one-sided. All eyes will be on how Yuvraj tackles Johnson because if he comes in to bat before the 30th over or so, Australia will definitely call upon his nemesis.
Finally picked in the XI, Mohammed Shami provided some sting to India's quick bowling when he took three wickets in the rained-out Ranchi ODI. It was enough to draw some praise from the opposition captain. India will need more of it from him and his comrades if they are to not expect the batsmen to score a huge total once again, whether batting first or second.
Team newsThe questions around the team combination remain the same since there wasn't a ball bowled in the previous ODI. Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat should retain their places, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar possibly replacing R Vinay Kumar.
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/ R Vinay Kumar, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Mohammed Shami
Australia have retained their XI in the series, and are likely to do so again.
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
"There is no pressure as such. We are just going out and enjoying ourselves. This game is going to be crucial so we just want to enjoy ourselves and see where we can take it."
India offspinner R Ashwin
"We have played some very good cricket. We look forward to tomorrow's game. The three (finished) games have been outstanding. We are finding a lot of confidence at the moment and that stems from the way the tour has gone so far."
Australia captain George Bailey
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge