India vs Australia: Why Kohli and Co start as favourites in series decider against Australia
India will take on Australia in the third ODI encounter in Bengaluru on Sunday with the series balanced at 1-1 after visitors won the first match and hosts followed it up with a comfortable win in Rajkot. India will be entering the game as clear favourites if we consider their statistics in bilateral series. The hosts have not lost any home 3-ODI series since 2012 and their last 3-ODI series defeat at home came against Pakistan in 2012. On top of that, India enjoys the best series win percentage in 3-ODI bilateral series as they have won 23 out of 37 times.
India also enjoy a brilliant record when it comes to the final match of a three-match bilateral series. India have lost only once in the 3rd match of a 3-ODI series since 1997. On the other hand, Australia have lost both their previous 3-ODI bilateral series and they have also not won a series decider of a 3 ODI series since 2012.
Earlier. Steve Smith hit a swashbuckling 98 but Australia could not stop India powering to a 36-run victory to level their one-day series on Friday.
Thrashed by 10 wickets in the first of the three-match series, Shikhar Dhawan made 96, KL Rahul 80 and captain Virat Kohli 78 as India made 340 for six in their 50 overs and Australia soon fell behind in the run chase.
India completely turned the tables on Australian captain Aaron Finch, who won the toss and put India in to bat. India were a totally different proposition to the side that was never in the Mumbai contest while Finch’s bowlers struggled.
Despite Smith’s 102-ball innings with a six and nine fours and Marnus Labuschagne’s battling 46, Mohammed Shami came close to a hat-trick as India’s pace attack took control and Australia were bowled out for 304 with five balls of the innings left.
Shami bowled Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins with successive yorkers and had an appeal for the third wicket turned down on review. He finished with three for 77.
“It was good to see that we came back so strongly,” said Dhawan. “We had a good discussion, we knew we had to target specific bowlers and we showed more intent. Once we were set, we put the pressure on them.”
The series, a key preparation for both sides ahead of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, will now be decided in Bangalore on Sunday.
(With agency inputs)