Cricket

India vs Australia 2nd ODI | Hosts have their back to the wall again

Batting strategy: With Virat Kohli’s experiment of dropping down the order failing in Mumbai, he might revert to his usual batting slot.

Batting strategy: With Virat Kohli’s experiment of dropping down the order failing in Mumbai, he might revert to his usual batting slot.  

Loss in Mumbai may force a rethink in Kohli’s batting spot; Rahul to continue to don keepers’ gloves

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The idiom fits perfectly describing India captain Virat Kohli switching his batting position from No. 3 to No. 4. In order to accommodate all three specialist openers in the team, Kohli demoted himself from his favourite — and most successful — batting position. And the move backfired in the series-opener in Mumbai on Tuesday as not only did Kohli not fire but India also ended up putting on a below-par total.

With Aaron Finch and David Warner helping Australia cruise to a 10-wicket win, India for the second time in as many months finds itself needing to bounce back in a three-match ODI series. If Kohli’s cavaliers have to show the resilience they showed against West Indies last month, it’s time the captain regains his customary position.

Kohli’s admission

Kohli — who has scored 36 of his 43 ODI hundreds at No. 3 — admitted after the loss at Wankhede that India had to “rethink” about the batting order. “We’ve had this discussion many times in the past. Because of the way K.L. (Rahul) has been batting, we have tried to fit him in the batting line-up,” Kohli said. “Having said that, I don’t think it’s quite gone our way whenever I’ve batted No. 4 so we’ll probably have to rethink about that one.”

Come Friday and India’s quandary over the batting line-up will still continue, considering Rishabh Pant’s unavailability for the game. The wicketkeeper has been ruled out of the must-win game after being hit on the helmet. As a result, Rahul — who donned the gloves during Australia’s chase — is set to continue behind the wicket. It will thus be interesting to see if Kohli and Rahul swap batting positions. Pant’s injury also means that it will be a toss-up between Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav at the No. 6 slot.

High on confidence

Australia, meanwhile, will enter the game high on confidence. Century makers Warner and Finch will hope to give yet another cracking start to the visiting outfit on yet another belter at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium at Khanderi.

That the opening duo was never separated at Wankhede meant Marnus Labuschagne was deprived of having a hit in his much-anticipated ODI debut. The in-form batsman will be looking forward to prove his mettle in the shorter version on Friday.

It remains to be seen if Australia brings on Josh Hazlewood in place of Kane Richardson as the third seamer. Considering that Williamson fared pretty well at Wankhede, it is unlikely that coach Justin Langer will tinker with the winning combination for the sake of it.

The teams (from): India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.

Australia: Aaron Finch (Capt.), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

On-field umpires: Richard Kettleborough, Virender Sharma; Third umpire: Michael Gough; Fourth umpire: K. Srinivasan.

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle.

Match starts 1.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:00:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-vs-australia-2nd-odi-hosts-have-their-back-to-the-wall-again/article30577811.ece

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