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Last Updated Monday June 25 2018 07:23 PM IST

Crunch time for Australia as India look to wrap up series

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Glenn Maxwell Glenn Maxwell needs to come up with a big score for Australia. PTI

Indore: Packed with an incisive bowling attack, a confident India would look to pile on the misery for a struggling Australia and seal the five-match series when they clash in the third One-Day International (ODI), here on Sunday.

It was no small task for Virat Kohli and his men to defend a modest 252 on the Eden Garden wicket, which despite being a two-paced track favored the batsmen.

The hosts have their bowling combination working superbly for them. The swing master Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have made the Australian top-order look ordinary while the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has made the Kangaroos dance to their tunes.

Australia's plight could easily be gauged from the fact that eight of their batsmen could not touch double-digit scores in Chennai, while only four of them could score more than 10 in Kolkata.

India have surely taken a giant step for yet another series win, but the team has allowed the Australian to create a few openings that could have proved detrimental if there were not some rescue acts.

If the top order floundered in the series-opener, the middle order squirmed in Kolkata, where the bowlers won the match for the hosts.

Manish Pandey has not made any contribution in the team's cause so far.

The selectors have named the squad only for the first three ODIs so it's time that Pandey, who had a decent run during India A's tour of South Africa, and also Kedar Jadhav come up with something special.

Considering that the team management is looking to identify the No. 4 and 5 positions for the 2019 World Cup in England, Pandey at No.4 so far has failed to impress.

Jadhav has proved that he is a utility batsman but he needs to be consistent and lift the side when it's faced with crunch situations. Just the way Hardik Pandya, who is fast establishing himself as fast-bowling all-rounder, did it in Chennai. In the first match Pandey came up with an all-round show, and in Kolkata, he did the job with the ball.

The 70-yard short boundary on all sides would give the batsmen of both the teams chance to get a lot of runs.

The major reason why the Indian batsmen have not been able to dominate the world champions is the incredibly consistent performance of their pacers, especially Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Coulter-Nile has put the ball outside off stump on good length, reminding one of Australian great Glenn McGrath, who was always a thorn in India's flesh with his teasing line and length.

Pat Cummins has also done reasonably well, bowling in tandem with Coulter-Nile. Their approach straight-jacketed the Indian batsmen in both the matches. The strategy has worked well for the Australians in keeping the Indians quiet in first Powerplay overs.

The major concern for the visitors is their spinners. Adam Zampa was taken to the cleaners by Pandya in Chennai and was immediately dropped.

However, his replacement Ashton Agar hardly troubled the Indians in Kolkata, where in complete contrast, the home spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ruled the roost.

Chinaman Yadav, who became only third Indian to claim a hat-trick in the one-day format, is gradually giving the team management confidence that he can be India's next big spinner.

In the absence of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who has been overlooked in the first two games, both Yadav and Chahal have done remarkably well. Chahal has been very effective and miserly in the middle overs.

The curator has already predicted that wrist spinners will be effective on the Holkar track, giving India enough reasons to smile.

Australia, on the other hand, need David Warner to fire at top of the order and Glenn Maxwell to see the side through in the middle order. These are no alien conditions for them, having played for their IPL franchises for the last few years.

India has largely managed to contain captain Steve Smith but the kind of fighter he is, a big knock is expected from him. But more than anything, Smith needs all his batsmen to buck up and provide some resistance.

They have badly missed Aaron Finch, who has not played as yet due to a calf muscle injury and if he comes back, it will be a big boost for them.

According to weathermen, rain may interrupt the game but fans would hope that the rain gods won't spoil the game.

The squads (from): India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja and Lokesh Rahul.

Australia: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner, Hilton Cartwright, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, James Faulkner and Adam Zampa.

Match starts at 1.30 pm IST

Read also: More Cricket NewsRahul, the Kerala flavor in Indian squad

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