India were outclassed and outplayed at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday night once again. The men in blue lost back-to-back games at the SCG and ended up losing the 3 match ODI series 2-0.
India Don’t Learn From Their Mistakes
The second ODI was in many ways a replica of the first ODI as Australia once again batted first, their top three batsmen once again played brilliantly and G Maxwell played a cameo yet again at the end to get Australia to a commanding total in excess of 360.
India once again bowled poorly as the selectors decided to field the same playing XI and got the same results again. The bowlers were carted to all parts of the ground at will and could not stop Australia from taking the game away from them. The batsmen had a humongous task before them as they were once again required to chase down a mammoth total.
India ended up losing by 51 runs but the margin of defeat was a lot bigger – mentally! The 2-0 series loss will be a big blow to Kohli and his men as their confidence has taken a beating. They go into the third ODI on December 2 which takes place in Canberra as the betting underdogs with odds of 6/4 while Australia are the betting favorites with odds of 8/15.
Third ODI Is Important for India
The third ODI is important for India because they are playing for more than just pride. They need to come up with a performance where they dominate Australia with both bat and ball. India needs to be more competitive and finish the series 2-1 to show their fans and Australia that they can bounce back and have the mental tenacity to fight back.
India has a long tour ahead of them as once the ODI series is over, they start a three match T20 series and then get to play a four match test series. If India gets rolled over 3-0 in the ODI series, their confidence is going to be deflated and it will be very difficult for them to compete hard in the T20 series.
So the third ODI could very well dictate how the T20 series goes and maybe even the test series.
Selectors Must Get Things Right
Virat Kohli does not like losing and will be keen to turn things around. The selectors need to help him out and give him the right playing XI. The idea of playing M Agarwal at the top of the order and keeping KL Rahul in the middle does not make sense. India need to field their top three batsmen at the top of the order.
There is concern over the middle-order but the selectors need to trust the likes of S Iyer, S Samson and M Pandey in the ODI and T20 format to get the job done.
The biggest concern for India has been their bowling department. J Bumrah has not been very effective, N Saini has been very expensive and Y Chahal has looked toothless. India needs to experiment with their bowlers and the bowling coach needs to come up with a better strategy to outsmart the likes of Warner, Smith and Finch.
Is Mental Fatigue Hurting India?
India have been in an IPL bubble in the UAE for over 6 weeks and moved straight into another bubble in Australia. The general public has no clue what is happening behind the scenes and what the mental health is like of the Indian players.
These two defeats will not help their mental health and for captain Kohli it is more than just two defeats as his side the Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a defeat in the IPL Qualifier 2 which was a big blow to Kohli and RCB. We will have to wait and see how things play out in the next couple of weeks.