Published:September 30, 2017 9:44 pm
The last time Virat Kohli averaged worse in an ODI series than the ongoing India-Australia series, it was back in 2015 when India toured Bangladesh for a three-match series. More than two years later, Kohli stares at one of the rare series where he will have an average less that 49. South Africa ODI series in 2015-16 was the last time he averaged that number. Now, with only one ODI left in the series, the Indian captain needs to scored 109 or more before getting out or needs to remain unbeaten on 59 or more to average that number.
Just like Kohli, India will like to finish the series on a high after losing the fourth ODI which ended their nine-match winning streak. The main focus of the fifth ODI will clearly be on the middle order which is yet to fire in this series. Manish Pandey got his chances but failed to capatilise on it. KL Rahul, warming the bench since first ODI will like to get some game time.
Australia also have to address a few issues. They left their most destructive batsmen Glenn Maxwell in Bangalore but they won the match so the selection headache is still on. The bowlers have done a fine job and openers seem to be the backbone of the team.
But, like the Indian captain, Australia captain Steve Smith hasn’t been is the supreme he can be. A few sparks of brilliance is all he has managed in the four matches so far. Will we finally see the destruction both captains are capable of?
India bowling in the previous match was not what the pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had made it look. The team, in all probability, will stick to Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. Kuldeep Yadav may come in for Yuzvendra Chahal.
But, it is yet to be seen how the Nagpur pitch, which is considered to be spin-friendly after being relaid in 2014, behaves as the square has been relaid again. The last ODI played here was in 2013 and scores of 300 or more were very common. Since then, in four T20Is, no team was able to cross 150.
Long boundaries at the ground may give spinners a better chance of picking wickets but if it is again a flat surface, nothing more than run-fest can be expected.
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