Rohit, Kohli, Cummins tag in for India-Australia series finale

Big picture: Can Australia avoid whitewash?Australia

R Ashwin had played just two ODIs in the last six years when he got a call-up for this series. At that time, both captain Rohit and chief selector Ajit Agarkar pointed out that while Ashwin was out of action in ODIs, he was playing Tests and T20s regularly. That showed in the first two ODIs, as Ashwin picked up 1 for 47 in Mohali and 3 for 41 in Indore. In case Axar doesn’t get fit in time for the World Cup, the team management has a replacement ready.
Australia’s death bowling was under the scanner even before this series began. After the second ODI in Indore, where they conceded 103 in the last ten overs, their death-overs economy this year stands at 9.48 – the worst for any team. When it comes to taking wickets in this phase, only Afghanistan (20.95) among Full Members have a worse strike rate than their 20.60. Australia will be hoping Starc’s return provides some relief.

Team news: Kishan to open?

In Gill’s absence, Ishan Kishan could open the innings with Rohit. Bumrah and Siraj should replace Shami and Prasidh Krishna.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Apart from Cummins and Starc returning, Maxwell could get his first game of the tour. Maxwell hasn’t played competitive cricket since July, but before flying to India, he did feature in a 50-over practice match for Victoria where he batted, and bowled four overs.

Australia (probable): 1 Mitchell Marsh, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins (capt), 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pitch and conditions: Another run-fest on the cards

The Rajkot pitch is often compared to the adjacent highway – in the three ODIs the venue has hosted to date, there have been four 300-plus totals. The last ODI here was in 2020, when India, batting first, posted 340 for 6. In response, Australia were all out for 304. The weather for Wednesday is expected to be partly cloudy, but there is no forecast for rain.

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