After levelling the three-match series in Adelaide, India prepares to take on Australia in the third and final ODI in Melbourne on January 18.
Both teams go into this match with a couple of issues to address and every decision taken herewith will have major implications considering the proximity of the 2019 cricket World Cup.
For Australia, skipper Aaron Finch will continue to open the batting with wicketkeeper Alex Carey and the former will be keen on grabbing the spotlight in the deciding game after having a quiet series.
There has been a loud call to promote Glenn Maxwell up the batting order but coach Justin Langer emphasized that the all-rounder's new role is that of a finisher at number 7. In the middle order, Shaun Marsh has been a revelation. He scored a fifty in the first game and his brilliant century in Adelaide went under the radar thanks to India's victory.
While Australia's batting looks settled at the moment, they might mull a couple of changes in the bowling department. Peter Siddle has not impressed in his comeback and this might be a good opportunity to give Billy Stanlake a game. Similarly, Nathan Lyon has not been able to provide breakthroughs in the middle overs which might tempt the management to play leg-spinner Adam Zampa in the starting XI.
For India, question marks have been raised over Ambati Rayudu's place after his failures in the first two games but in the absence of any replacement, he will continue at his number 4 slot. Virat Kohli will be overjoyed by MS Dhoni's performance in the last game and the Indian captain also praised Dinesh Karthik for playing the finisher's role to perfection.
In the bowling department, the Indians have been sweating over their third seamer as Khaleel Ahmed – in the first ODI – and Mohammed Siraj – in the second – were both expensive. This might force India to play Yuzvendra Chahal and go in with three spinners.
Australia: AaronFinch (C), Carey (WK), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), MS Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal
Pitch and Weather Conditions
The pitch in Adelaide is expected to be flat and a lot of runs will be on offer. The white ball does not swing much and the under lights, the pitch might get quicker.
The captain winning the toss has decided to bat first given the extremely hot conditions. Since the Melbourne Cricket Ground has a big playing surface, it will not be surprising to see a lot of singles and twos being run. But running will be easier in the comparatively cooler conditions of the evening so it will be interesting to see what the captain who wins the toss decides to do.
The weather is expected to be cloudy but no rain has been forecast. The Indian players will be happy to hear that temperatures are expected to be in the mid 20 degree Celsius range.