India would be eyeing a maiden bilateral ODI series triumph on Australian soil after the path-breaking Test conquest when they take on the home team in the tour finale in Melbourne on Friday.
The three-match series is level at 1-1 after Australia won the first ODI in Sydney by 34 runs and India won the second in Adelaide by six wickets.
The Men in Blue have never won a bilateral ODI contest on Australian soil, and their only two series’ wins in this format have come in 1985 (World Championship of Cricket) and 2008 (CB Series).
Australia have made two changes to their XI for the series-deciding Gillette ODI against India on Friday, with Adam Zampa and Billy Stanlake coming into the side.
Stanlake replaces paceman Jason Behrendorff, who has been ruled out with back soreness, while Nathan Lyon has been dropped to make way for Zampa.
Melbourne Renegades paceman Kane Richardson has also been called into the squad as cover.
The axing of Lyon comes just two matches after he’d replaced Zampa in the side for the series opener in Sydney.
The pair are jockeying to be Australia’s frontline spinner at this year’s World Cup and despite going wicketless in the opening two games, Lyon had earned praise from skipper Aaron Finch.
“I think he’s been really impressive,” Finch said this afternoon, before the off-spinner’s axing was announced.
“Obviously not getting a wicket, he’d have liked a bit more return for that. When he keeps bowling that well, he will get rewarded eventually.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch Thursday declared that he will return to his “natural” aggressive game in the series-deciding third ODI against India here after being left “frustrated” by a cautious approach while searching for runs.
Finch has been going through a bad patch for a long time and the sword is literally hanging over his head.
After a below-par showing in the Test series, Finch’s struggle with the bat continued in the ODIs as he scored just 12 runs in the first two games.
“I am little bit frustrated. I am trying to bat a little bit longer for one thing. When you are searching for runs, you can be searching for the right recipe, and over the last couple of days, I have had a look at footage. I have seen things that have worked out when I got a hundred for Australia last, and what didn’t,” Finch said ahead of Friday’s final ODI.
“I want to give myself the best chance. Maybe, I have been too tentative in the last couple games and letting pressure build up.”
Finch, who scored just 97 runs in six innings in the Test series against India before being dropped for the final game, has admitted that he has spent the last few days in reminding himself he is “still a very good player”.
“That’s always a fine balance between attack and hanging in there, waiting for the right time to be aggressive and take on the opposition. I still feel I am a very good player,” he said.
“I think 13 international hundreds suggest I do know what is required. It is about seeing through the initial part and putting pressure back on the bowlers. It is just about going back to my natural game, letting it flow and finding the right rhythm.”
Australia XI for 3rd ODI:
Aaron Finch, Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake
Gillette ODI Series v India:
First ODI: Australia won by 34 runs
Second ODI: India win by six wickets
Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)