After registering a thrilling last over victory in the second ODI, India heads to Ranchi where they will take on Australia on March 8.
Vijay Shankar has all but punched his ticket to the England bound flight which will take off in May for the ICC World Cup. Under immense pressure to defend 11 runs in the last over, the all-rounder finished the game off in three balls as he picked up Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa to hand India victory by 8 runs.
With his spot more or less sealed, there remains only bone for contention – that surrounding the spot of the second wicketkeeper. Rishabh Pant has the advantage in that race by being in the current squad and the management will be keen on giving the 21-year-old an opportunity to make his claim. Dinesh Karthik is his direct competitor but he is not in the squad and will thus be looking at Pant to determine his fate.
Ravindra Jadeja was drafted into the squad following the back injury to Hardik Pandya and on his return, he has done all he could but India will be a more potent weapon with the ball if Yuzvendra Chahal partners Kuldeep Yadav with the ball in the middle overs. The spin twins have been very successful whenever paired and Virat Kohli would want to try them out with only three games to the World Cup remaining.
For Australia, Marcus Stoinis almost took them home and Aaron Finch will want him to reprise the role of the finisher. In that case, Glenn Maxwell will move to the middle order. The Aussie team management will want more from their middle-order batsmen, especially as the return of the banned duo of Steve Smith and David Warner draws near.
The Aussies will have to take a call on one of their spinners as the pitch in Ranchi may not take as much turn as the one in Nagpur. So it will be a toss-up between Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa. Left-arm quick bowler Jason Behrendorff is likely to replace whoever sits out.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Australia: Aaron Finch (C), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium in Ranchi has traditionally assisted the spinners and it will be interesting to see whether the trend continues in the third ODI between India and Australia. In case the pitch stays true to reputation, India might draft in Chahal to compound the woes on Australia. India is known to be a chasing side but if the pitch cracks up as the game progresses, they might opt to bat first.
Ranchi is expected to be cooler than Nagpur with temperatures around mid 20 degrees Celcius even during the afternoon. A gentle breeze is expected and this might help the quick bowlers around the time of sunset as they might extract some swing in the air.