March 2019
10:32 PM IST
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Series on line for India, Australia
New Delhi: A thrilling series is set to conclude at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Wednesday, when India and Australia square off one last time in the fifth one-day international. When India raced to a 2-0 lead, the impression was that they would brush aside all before them. Australia have done incredibly well to fight back to parity. In fact, while Australia were seen as having concerns heading into the tour, it''s India who seem to have a plethora of problems at this point.

Not many gave Australia a chance, given India came out better in their clashes Down Under. But the visitors swept the two-match Twenty20 International series 2-0 and competed impressively even in defeat in the first two ODIs. They secured the results in Ranchi and Mohali, and on the upswing now, might even be considered favourites, just about, to win this final clash with India having plenty to sort, an ICC report on Tuesday said. The home side just haven''t been able to click in tandem. While the bowlers shored things up in India''s victories in Hyderabad and Nagpur, the batsmen struggled.

That struggle continued in the third ODI in Ranchi. In Mohali, while India''s batsmen finally came good to post 358/9, albeit on a flat track, the bowlers struggled, and chances went abegging in the field. Virat Kohli, the India captain, admitted his side were ?sloppy? and said that was what cost them in Mohali. Dew was also a factor, but what India also missed was their captain in and around the epicentre during the death overs when Ashton Turner was pillaging the bowlers. Kohli usually mans the boundaries in the death, being one of India''s better fielders, and leaves MS Dhoni to manage the middle.

But with Dhoni being rested for the final two ODIs and Kohli fielding in the deep, there was no presence in the middle in that crucial phase of the match. Unlike in Mohali, where history favoured Australia, India have beaten Australia in three of the four ODIs they have played at the Kotla. Their last match, however, came in 2009. India generally have a good record at the Kotla: they have won 12 of the 19 ODIs they have played at this venue, although they lost the last one, in 2016, against New Zealand.

Squads India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye.

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