Udayavni Special

Kohli to be back at No.3 after all-openers-on-board strategy backfires


PTI, Jan 16, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

Rajkot: Skipper Virat Kohli is set to be back at his regular number three position after the strategy of coming two-down boomeranged in the lung-opener as India take on a resolute Australia in the must-win second ODI here on Friday.

India goes into the game 0-1 down after Australia registered a 10-wicket win in the lung-opener at Mumbai, courtesy David Warner and Aaron Finch, who hit unbeaten hundreds.

In a bid to field all three in-form players Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, Kohli dropped himself down the order but the plan backfired spectacularly as he was unable to convert his start.

Opener Dhawan later said he was ready to bat at number three if asked to by the team management, but since Kohli has been successful at that position, the skipper would be more than willing to walk in one-down.

Kohli batting at three also provides stability to the middle-order. With a concussed Rishabh Pant out of the second game, Rahul is a certainty as he will keep wickets.

So, like in the last game, Rohit and Dhawan, who made a dogged 74 off 91 balls in Wankhede, could open, and there could be a toss-up between Rahul and young Shreyas Iyer at number four. Iyer had a rare failure on Tuesday.

Pant’s absence could pave the way for the inclusion of Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey, who made optimum use of the opportunity that he got in the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune.

Rohit, who had a phenomenal 2019, failed in the first game, but given the form he is in, the opener is expected to bounce back strongly here.

Ditto for Kohli, who is just one hundred short of equalling cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most hundreds on home soil for India.

On the other hand, a high on confidence Australia will be looking to seal the issue to register back to back series wins in India, a rare feat for any visiting team. The Finch-Warner combination will look forward to carrying the momentum.

The match starts at 1.30

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