ODI final a fitting end to special series


It’s only fitting that the record-breaking one-day series with world No.


1 India comes down to a winner-takes-all final game, says Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

He describes Saturday’s game 7 clash in Bangalore as “grand final day”.

What started out as a fight for the No.1 ODI ranking has surely proven beyond doubt these are the two best 50-over sides in the world.

Washouts in games four and five ended world No.2 Australia’s hopes of stealing the home side’s top ODI ranking.

But the closeness of every contest shows just how evenly matched they are.

It’s a series that has produced the second and third highest successful ODI run chases in history.

Batting records have tumbled in every game, with Australian skipper George Bailey in exquisite touch while India’s Virat Kohli has proved equally unstoppable.

Had it not been for James Faulkner’s extraordinary 30-run over off Ishant Sharma which single-handedly stole victory for Australia in Mohali, this series would likely already be decided in India’s favour.

But after six games the score is 2-2 and series honours will now be taken by the winner in Bangalore.

“It’s grand final day now, and I think it is very fitting that it comes down to a deciding match,” Haddin told AAP.

“There’s been some outstanding cricket played throughout the whole series.

“It’s obviously been very attractive to watch and there’s been some very special performances right the way through.

“To be playing for the series … it’s exciting and is exactly what this series deserves.”

The flow of runs is unlikely to slow in Bangalore, with smaller boundaries and generally placid pitches tipped to deliver another nightmare for the bowlers.

“It’s certainly a very high-scoring ground,” allrounder Shane Watson said.

“…Hopefully not (this time), for the bowlers’ sake. Otherwise there might be a few bowlers are a little despondent on the flight home.”

Watson said the one-day format was a different game these days, following significant rule changes introduced this year – notably the requirement for one more fielder to be inside the 30-yard circle.

“No doubt it provides a really big challenge for the bowlers and also George as captain to be able to try and find ways to defend a big total like we’ve been able to get,” Watson said.

“It’s certainly changed the dynamic of one-day cricket.”

Australia’s task is made even more difficult following Cricket Australia’s decision to fly fast bowler Mitchell Johnson home ahead of the Ashes.

Johnson has been the most effective bowler of the series, leading with seven wickets, and is expected to force his way into Michael Clarke’s Gabba Test lineup after terrorising the Indian middle order.

“Obviously it’s a loss and we’ll miss Mitch, but that’s cricket these days,” Haddin said.

“He’s gone home in the best interest in Australian cricket to prepare himself to hopefully bowl his way into an Ashes squad.”

Johnson will likely be replaced by fast-bowling allrounder Nathan Coulter-Nile.

While still in doubt, batsman Adam Voges’ chances of featuring have improved after he reacted well to treatment on a back injury suffered in Wednesday’s thrilling loss.

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