India grapple with sixth bowling option with series on the line

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Shaun Marsh can’t buy a run in Tests these days, but has four centuries in his last eight ODI innings. MS Dhoni couldn’t score a single ODI half-century in 2018, but has begun 2019 with back-to-back ones, also finishing the second ODI with a six in the final over. Twitterverse thinks this is a roll back to 2009, their version of the #10yearschallenge in action: scoring runs then, scoring runs now.
The reality is Marsh needs these runs to stave off competition after losing his Test spot, while Dhoni continues to receive firm backing from his captain, even as the clamour for Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in the shorter formats reaches fever pitch. The concerns for both teams, though, are elsewhere.
Australia’s is their inability to push past the 300-run barrier twice in a row. In Adelaide, a clutch of middle-order wickets on the face of superb death bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar denied them a final kick. In Sydney, they had a middle-overs lift courtesy Peter Handscomb, but couldn’t capitalise on it. Can Glenn Maxwell be that man?
Justin Langer believes he is best suited at No. 7 presently. This puts the onus equally on Marcus Stoinis to do the heavy lifting. This could be tricky at times, if the top order takes its time to consolidate. In the first two games, Australia made 138 for 3 and 141 for 4 at the 30-over mark. This leaves the lower order little breathing space if they are to push towards 330, quite the norm in ODIs these days – most-certainly will be at the World Cup in England.
Another headache that is growing with every passing game is Aaron Finch’s form and his shortcomings against the incoming delivery. His return to form will give the middle order some breathing space.
It’s not all hunky-dory for India. They need to find an ideal sixth bowler, and have Vijay Shankar, the seam-bowling allrounder, and Kedar Jadhav’s round-armish offspin to choose from. Desperation forced Virat Kohli to turn to Ambati Rayudu, who was reported for an illegal action in Sydney. In Adelaide, he had to bowl out the expensive Mohammed Siraj for a lack of options.