Selection headaches for Virat Kohli dominates ahead of deciding Australia v India ODI

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Virat Kohli has some tricky decisions to make at Melbourne.

The series will be on the line for both teams when Australia take on India in the deciding ODI at Melbourne on Friday.

There has been nothing to separate the two sides so far in the three-match series with Australia taking the honours in Sydney before India bounced back with a six-wicket win in Adelaide.

With all to play for at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), we take a look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.

AUSSIES TURN TO STANLAKE AND ZAMPA FOR DECIDER

India will have to face the pace threat posed by Billy Stanlake in the decider with Jason Behrendorff ruled out with an injury. Kane Richardson has been called up as a fast-bowling cover, but it is Stanlake who has got the nod to make the playing XI for Friday.

Along with Stanlake, leg-spinner Adam Zampa too has been included in the playing XI after missing out on the first two ODIs. Lyon was preferred ahead of Zampa in Sydney and Adelaide, but the off-spinner has been given a rest for the final ODI.

While Lyon has been decent in the two ODIs so far, Zampa will present a greater wicket-taking threat for the hosts and has shown that he has the ability to trouble India’s batsmen including Kohli in the past.

Australia struggled for wickets at the top and in the middle overs at Adelaide. The inclusions of Stanlake and Zampa could be the perfect remedy to that problem.

Zampa has troubled India in the past.

Zampa has troubled India in the past.

INDIA GRAPPLE WITH SELECTION DILEMMAS

While India will be riding high on confidence following their convincing win at the Adelaide Oval, there are a few selection headaches facing Virat Kohli heading into the decider.

Pacer Mohammed Siraj was highly expensive in his ODI debut and gave away 76 runs in his 10 overs without picking up a single wicket. It was Khaleel Ahmed who had been given the nod as the third pacer in the series opener, but the left-armed seamer has been equally expensive with figures of 0-55 from his eight overs.

The third pacer’s slot is not the only tricky selection facing Kohli given India’s sixth bowler woes so far in the series. When Ahmed leaked runs in Sydney, India were forced to turn to the part-time spin of Ambati Rayudu.

However, with Rayudu being reported for a suspect action, India did not have any extra options to play with in Adelaide when Siraj was being tonked to all parts of the ground.

As such, Kohli could be tempted to draft in Kedar Jadhav or Vijay Shankar to provide some contingency bowling options at Melbourne.

Siraj was extremely expensive in the Adelaide ODI.

Siraj was extremely expensive in the Adelaide ODI.

AUSTRALIA CHASE FIRST SERIES WIN IN 24 MONTHS

Friday will present hosts Australia the chance to capture their first ODI series win in over two years. Australia’s last series win in the format came all the way back in January, 2017 when they beat Pakistan 3-0 at home.

Since then, the Aussies have tasted series defeats against New Zealand, India, South Africa and twice against arch-rivals England. They crashed out early in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy as well in England.

The bans meted out to Steve Smith and David Warner has not helped matters for Australia, but a series win against the No2 ranked Indians will give them a big confidence boost ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England.

Aaron Finch and his men will be desperate to give the home fans a reason to celebrate after their defeat in the preceding Test series.

Finch and his men will be desperate to clinch a series win.

Finch and his men will be desperate to clinch a series win.

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