Australia came close in the 2nd ODI only to be outdone by some excellent bowling by India at the death.
India will be aiming to take an unassailable 3-0 series lead when they lock horns with Australia in what could be MS Dhoni's last ODI outing at his hometown of Ranchi on March 8. The Men in Blue suffered a 2-0 loss in the T20I series and will look to quickly erase that painful memory with another match-winning performance.
Catch all the live updates from the 3rd ODI here.
The 2nd ODI at Nagpur went down to the wire with Vijay Shankar giving his World Cup chances a big boost by scalping the last two wickets in the final over. India managed a total of just 250 mainly thanks to Virat Kohli's 40th ODI century as other batsmen failed to get going. Vijay Shankar looked good with the bat until he was unfortunately run out on 46 off 41 balls.
Jasprit Bumrah gave away just 2 runs while scalping 2 wickets in the last 2 overs of his spell to set up a tight finish. Shankar was then handed the ball for the final over with 11 runs required and he wrapped things up impressively by dismissing both Marcus Stoinis (52) and Adam Zampa.
India will want to seal the series early which will provide them with the opportunity to rotate the squad with an eye on the World Cup starting in May. Rishabh Pant is waiting in the flanks to state his case as is KL Rahul. With Shikhar Dhawan struggling for form and Rahul impressing in the two T20Is, the Bengaluru lad will fancy his chances of usurping the Delhi left-hander at the top of the innings.
The match also takes on added significance as it could well turn out to be MS Dhoni’s final outing in the Indian colours in front of his home fans at Ranchi. The 37-year-old is expected to announce retirement post what would be his fourth ODI World Cup in England.
India will not be expected to make any major changes to the squad in what could be a series-deciding tie. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be available for selection and could make his way into the playing XI at the expense of either Bumrah, Mohammed Shami or Ravindra Jadeja. KL Rahul is also in the squad but the management might want to give Dhawan one last opportunity to regain his form out in the middle.
Australia came close in the 2nd ODI only to be outdone by some excellent bowling by India at the death. The only change they will be tempted to make will be to bring in either Jhye Richardson or Jason Behrendorff to bowl in the powerplay overs. This could mean Nathan Lyon will once again be left on the side-lines despite a decent outing in the 2nd ODI.
Possible Playing XI:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami/Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(WK), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa and Jason Behrendorff/Nathan Lyon.
Players to watch out for:
The all-rounder from Tamil Nadu has witnessed a spectacular turnaround in his international career following a horror outing in the final of the Nidahas Trophy in March 2018. He looked highly impressive at the crease in the 2nd ODI as he played some beautiful shots and then showed nerves of steel when called to bowl the final over. Shankar will know that he is very close to sealing a berth on the World Cup bound squad and will want to grasp his opportunity at Ranchi.
The Aussie pacer was once again at his lethal best with the ball as he finished with figures of 4/29 in the 2nd ODI. He provided the breakthrough for the Aussies by scalping Rohit Sharma in the very first over and also got the wicket of centurion Kohli just as the Indian skipper was looking to accelerate. His economy of 3.22 was second-best only to Bumrah (2.90) at Nagpur.
Recent form: (all formats - most recent first)
India: W W L L L
Australia: L L W W W
Betting Odds: (Bet365)
Other popular bets can be viewed on Oddschecker.com.
Timing:The India vs Australia 3rd ODI will be beamed live on the Star Sports network from 1.30 PM on March 8. Online users can catch the action live on Hotstar.