Australia vs India 2018-10: Can India make history at the MCG?
The final game of India's tour of Australia will be held at one of the greatest venues in Australia - Melbourne Cricket Ground. India and Australia will take the field on Friday with two extremely different targets on their radar, along with the series win.
Australia won their last ODI series in January 2017 against Pakistan, and they will be looking to ending the drought with a win at the MCG. On the other hand, India celebrated their first ever Test series win in Australia a few days back, and will be eyeing to make history again with their first ever ODI bilateral series win in the country.
India have won a T20 series in Australia, beating the hosts 3-0 in 2016.
While both the teams had some positives in the first two games, there are several issues to address as well. India would be happy with the centuries of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and at MS Dhoni finding some rhythm with two half-centuries. However, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu are yet to score runs in the series and the middle order still looks fragile.
India's third pace bowling options - Khaleel Ahmed and Mohammed Siraj - struggled in each of the matches they played. They were expensive and didn't make much of an impact in the game. The Australians managed to score freely in the death overs as well, which helped them post a competitive score on the board in both the games.
India don't have a part-time bowler in the top six as a backup for a bad performance by any of the frontline bowlers. The team management will be looking to resolving this issue considering the World Cup is in the next few months.
Australia would be happy with the performance of their middle order especially Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb, who were among the runs. However, Aaron Finch failed in both the games and Alex Carey couldn't convert his starts into big scores.
Khawaja and Marsh had to rebuild the innings in both the matches due to the top order failure, which led to a low run rate during the initial overs.
Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle have been disappointing in the series, and that is something which has hurt Australia especially after they posted competitive scores on the board. It will be interesting to see if Adam Zampa finds a spot in the playing XI instead of Lyon and if Billy Stanlake replaces Siddle at MCG.