For the first two matches of their five-match one-day series with Australia, India’s cricket team have provided cause for encouragement, yet finished with a defeat. Now as they go into Sunday’s third contest in Melbourne there is no further margin for error if they are to avoid yet another series loss Down Under.
Just as in the opening contest in Perth, in Brisbane on Friday, Rohit Sharma hit a century as India posted a score of over 300 batting first. And just as in Perth, India failed to defend their total as Australia reeled off the runs with balls to spare. While the pace bowlers had at least exceeded expectations in the first match, in Brisbane nether the quick nor spin bowlers delivered. Ravichandran Ashwin, who came in the series in such fine form, failed to take a wicket in his 10 overs, while fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja has taken just one wicket in two matches.
Yet captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s words suggest that he has little confidence in the ability of his bowlers to stop Australia’s batsmen. Instead, he has called for even more from his own batting lineup.
“Now, as a team we have to win irrespective of which department has not been doing well,” he said, reports The Times of India.
“So, I think, we'll have to score 20-30 more runs and that will put a lot of pressure on the batsmen, because from the moment you take guard, on the back of your mind, you'll be thinking, we'll have to score 330-340. That will definitely put a lot of pressure," Dhoni added.
“I think, the position we are in, in the series right now, we’ll have to score more runs and definitely we'll go hard. But at the same time, you have to realize how hard you want to go.”
Australia were again grateful to a big score from former captain George Bailey, who added to his 112 in Perth with 76 runs in Brisbane. He was helped, too, by scores of 71 from bother openers, Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh. And Australian Bowler John Hastings is expecting another barrage of runs on Sunday.
“I think it will be another high-scoring affair tomorrow,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “I can't see that changing. It will just be about, if we bowl first, trying to contain them to around 300, and if we bat first push on to maybe 330-plus.”
However, Hastings has rejected the notion that the rules in One Day Internationals have become skewed unfairly in favor of the batsmen. Instead, he believes his side is not getting enough credit for twice chasing down totals in excess of 300.
“All the reports have been that it was a really easy chase [in Brisbane]. I don't think that was the case at all,” Hastings said. “Take nothing away from our batting group. They did an amazing job to chase 300-plus two games in a row and break a few records as well. I don't know whether they need to have a look at that or not. I just think that's the way the game's evolving now. I think six an over is just the standard.”
Time: 10:20 p.m. EST, Saturday
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