India vs Australia Live Cricket Score, 5th ODI Preview: Virat Kohli & Co eye ODI top spot

 India vs Australia Live Cricket Score, 5th ODI Preview

Stopping a resurgent Australia would not be easy but a confident India would look to end the series on a high when they compete in the fifth and final ODI match, on Sunday.

For the Virat Kohli-led Team India, there is more thing to fight for in Nagpur - top spot in ICC ODI rankings.

The Men in Blue briefly displaced top-ranked South Africa after winning the third ODI in Kolkata but were back to the second spot after the hosts lost the fourth ODI in Bengaluru.

The series already secured, India got the opportunity to test their bench strength in the fourth ODI but the team fell short by 21 runs, halting their nine-match winning run.

All three bowlers, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Axar Patel, proved expensive in their first game of the series but it was not entirely their fault that India ended up on the losing side.

Virat Kohli defended the bowling performance that allowed Australia to post 334 for five but said the batsmen could have done better on a batting beauty.

So, it won't be a surprise if Kohli gives his reserves bowlers another game on Sunday and more rest to Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kuldeep Yadav.

"We have won the series and you have to try out guys at some stage. You need to test your bench strength as well and you need to give those guys game time," said Kohli post the defeat in Bengaluru.

On the batting front, KL Rahul may get a game as he remains the only batsman in the squad to not have played in the series so far.

The team management will have to reassess their plans for the remaining game as both sides would want to end the series on a high and carry the momentum into the three T20s contest beginning in Ranchi on October.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane had set up a perfect platform in Bengaluru with a second straight century partnership but the middle order could not capitalise on that.

Hardik Pandya being promoted to four in the batting order worked brilliantly in Indore but did not yield a similar return on Thursday.

Pandya's promotion led to MS Dhoni being dropped to number six and the former captain hardly got time to get his eye in before going ballistic, something he prefers doing nowadays with his big hitting power on the wane.

Coming to bat ahead of Dhoni, Pandya and Kedar Jadhav got enough time to close out the game but they were unable to do the finishing job.

Pressure is mounting on Manish Pandey who is yet to score a half-century in the series. He got out at the wrong time at his home ground and Dhoni was left to do all by himself towards the end of the chase.

Australia had their chances even in the earlier games but they could only grab them in Bengaluru.

It was a much-needed all-round performance that saw bowlers complementing the good work done by the batsmen.

The pace trio of Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson bowled with pace and precision in the death overs to take the game away from the Indians.

The batting looks a lot more potent ever since the return of Aaron Finch, who came up with a fine 94 after a sublime 124 in his comeback game.

His opener partner David Warner too had a memorable game as he rose to the occasion to smash 124 in his 100th ODI.

It remains to be seen if Australia bring back the struggling Glenn Maxwell, who was dropped in the last game with wicket-keeper Matthew Wade taking his place.

The other wicket-keeper in the squad, Peter Handscomb, did rather well with a timely 43 off 30 balls take his team well beyond 300.

Here are the statistics in line for the fifth and final ODI match between India and Australia in Nagpur on Sunday...

1) A win in Nagpur can help Team India once again climb atop on the ICC ODI Team rankings finishing off the series 4-1.

2) India have a 50 per cent winning record at the VCA Stadium, Nagpur. Out of four matches that the Men in Blue have played at the venue, they bagged victories twice, both against Australia; and lost two – Sri Lanka and South Africa. While for Steve Smith's men, they managed to win just one out of the three matches they have played in Nagpur – against New Zealand, during the 2011 World Cup.

3) Nagpur track has been a high-scoring zone for cricket teams, ergo another massive 300-plus target won't sound surprising at VCA Stadium. Well, if India can get 350-plus as a target for the Aussies, then they will go past South Africa to sit atop with 25 such totals.

4) Like Chennai track, Nagpur too has been a favourite pitch for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Playing four ODIs at VCA Stadium, he already has two centuries to his name, with his knock of 124 against the team from Down Under back in 2009 being the second highest at the venue.

5) India skipper Kohli needs one more century to surpass Ricky Ponting's tally of 30 ODI tons. He would thereby stand second on the all-time list behind Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar (49).

6) Adding to the above one, another ODI ton would help him equal Ponting's record of 13 ODI hundreds at home. Leading the chart is Sachin, with 20 such knocks.

7) Opener Rohit Sharma is 92 runs short of 6000 ODI runs. If he can manage to breach the mark within the next five innings then he would become the third fastest Indian batsman after Kohli (136) and Sourav Ganguly (147) to do so. Overall, he will be the ninth Indian batsman to reach the milestone.

8) James Faulkner is four wickets short of claiming 100th ODI wickets. He would be the 17th Aussie to achieve it. He also has 1000 ODI runs to his name, ergo a double would make him the third Australia to achieve the mark.

9) Hardik Pandya needs three more wickets to reach the mark of 50 international wickets.

10) Umesh Yadav, if given a green signal on Sunday by Kohli, would be making his debut in front of his home crowd. 



India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel and Lokesh Rahul.

Australia: Steven Smith (captain), David Warner, Hilton Cartwright, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, James Faulkner and Adam Zampa.

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