In Stats: India Set to Increase Australia’s Misery in Bengaluru
Statistician Arun Gopalakrishnan previews the fourth ODI between India and Australia through numbers.
Even though the series has already been decided – with Team India taking a 3-0 lead in the 5-match ODI series – expect Virat Kohli and company not to give the Australians any room to wriggle out of their present situation when the two teams take the field on Thursday.
The fourth ODI will be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru – a venue where India have won more ODIs than at any other Indian venue. In fact, Team India are unbeaten in the last 7 ODIs in Bengaluru.
In the 7 ODIs that they’ve played in the Garden City since 2003, India have won 5 and tied 1 contest, while one ODI against Australia was washed out by inclement weather.
India Emerging as Final Frontier Again
Many years ago, during Steve Waugh’s tenure as Test captain, the Australians considered India to be the ‘Final Frontier’ – for they had won Test series everywhere else in the world, but just couldn’t win a series on Indian soil.
After a fairly successful period between 2001 and 2009 – when they won a Test series and a 3-match ODI series out of the 6 series they played in India, the Aussies have begun to struggle once again. They have now lost seven consecutive bilateral series in India – across formats.
Conditions in Bengaluru
So what should one expect in the ODI on Thursday? If history is anything to go by, then a run-fest – a bat versus bat contest – is likely to happen at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Teams batting first have posted in excess of 300 in 9 of the 13 ODIs played at the venue since the turn of the century. The average scoring rate at the venue in ODIs since 2000 is 6.05 – the highest among all venues which have hosted at least 10 ODIs in the period.
Be warned though that it is quite possible that the conditions will be somewhat similar to what one saw during IPL 2017 – a low and tired pitch, making stroke-play difficult. Further, Bengaluru has been battered by heavy rainfall in the last few days and the curator hasn’t had too much time to prepare the pitch. So there’s a good chance the pitch could be under-prepared for the match. It could be one of those matches where the captain might not want to win the toss.
With the series in the kitty, one can expect the Indian camp to experiment a little and give the players on the bench a run. The Indian team has fielded the same playing XI in the first three matches – and one could expect to see at least a couple of changes on Thursday.
Mohammed Shami or Umesh Yadav may take the new ball at the expense of either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Jasprit Bumrah.
The fact that a quality bowler like Shami – who has one of the best strike rates in ODIs – cannot find a place in the XI, tells us the strength of the Indian team.
Despite all the success in recent times, India are still searching for a number four batsman who performs consistently. In the 12 ODIs India have played post the ICC Champions Trophy, they have tried 6 different batsmen at the crucial number four position. Yet, not one player has nailed down that spot.
The team has recorded only two half-centuries from the batsman batting at number four. One could expect KL Rahul, who had a largely forgettable ODI series in Sri Lanka, to get a go in Bengaluru and play his first ODI at his home ground.
It is quite possible that he could replace Kedar Jadhav and bat at number four, with Manish Pandey and the rest of the batsmen slipping down one place in the batting order.
Where the Australians are concerned, they will have to make one forced change. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar will not be available for selection after injuring his finger in the previous ODI, and one expects the visitors will field leg-spinner Adam Zampa in the eleven.
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