Melbourne: Australia and India are locked 1-1 in the one-day international series, but heading into the final ODI on Friday, the home captain Aaron Finch was concerned with another stat altogether.
India's spinners have, in the two matches so far, managed combined returns of 3/115 and 1/115. The Australian management needed to address concerns surrounding their batsmen's approach to spin, and these figures are evidence that their corrective measures have yielded the desired result.
All of D'Arcy Short, Chris Lynn and Travis Head were dropped for the series, and in their place, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb were called up. Alex Carey has been moved to the top of the order, and with Shaun Marsh in excellent form, India's premier spinners, including Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, have been largely kept at bay.
"There's been a lot of talk around our batting, particularly in one-day cricket through the middle overs," Finch said."The way we've played their spin so far is a really good indication that the
improvement is there and the mindset shift in particular from the last couple of months has been really good. That's been a real positive so far. We've adapted to our game plan and stuck to it really well," he said.
Australia have 11 ODIs, including a tour to India, left to nail their plans before the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019. The period could see the returns of Steve Smith and David Warner, after their suspension, to the national set-up, an ICC report today said.
That could likely mean Carey will be shifted back down the order. "He's been shuffled around the order a lot, so we were keen to give him a consistent position and allow him to play a game that he's pretty comfortable with," Finch said.
"In terms of what it means going forward, we're going to have to wait and see. It's about trying to have as many bases covered as we can going into those India and Pakistan series (in February and March) and then the World Cup," he said."If we've got guys who can play three or four different roles in the side" I think that gives us a lot of flexibility. He's batted everywhere and he's done a pretty good job wherever he's batted," Finch added. (UNI)