Rain rain go away!

Rain rain go away!

The stage is set for the second ODI at Eden Gardens and India only need to emulate their last form to oust the struggling

India were 87 for 5 and all bets were off as to who may take the win home.  But the turnaround with a gritty 83 from Pandya and substantial runs from ex-skipper MS Dhoni ensured that the Aussies go back to the drawing board scratching their heads and stroking their egos.India pulled this one off in the wake of a timid Australian middle order and a unpredictable Glen Maxwell who despite being the sharpest tool in the shed looked off colour as he did off balance. But Australia may get exactly what they need this time;rain.

After two days of rain and gloom, as the sun started playing peek-a-boo around Wednesday mid-morning and the Eden Gardens ground staff began rolling up the pitch covers, the green tinge on the pitch became discernible even from the upper tier of the Club House (indianexpress.com)

With everything to lose and a line up that is beginning to look as unsettled as any, it will be a challenging proposition for Captain Steven Smith to only focus on his batting. His captaincy and his decision making skills will be under tight scrutiny. Australia will not have the luxury to not take wickets in the middle overs and will also have to look beyond David Warner for runs. Just like India, they will have to test their depths and blokes like Travis Head and James Faulkner will have to take a cue from the way the Indian tail enders batted.

Though Eden Gardens always calls for a dramatic finish to any contest between these two, redemption will be on Australia's mind as history beckons us to reminisce some of the best forms that have been displayed at this iconic venue. Virat Kohli for starters will be looking to upgrade from a duck that he  scored at Chennai. Rohit Sharma too is one of those cricketers who will be looking to unsettle the Aussies yet again.

Twelve years ago, then CAB curator Prabir Mukherjee had laid out a green-top at this venue for an ODI against South Africa. India were bundled out for 188 against Shaun Pollock and company, and the Saffers won the game by 10 wickets with 14.1 overs to spare. The grassy pitch was supposedly Mukherjee’s response to Sourav Ganguly’s ouster from the Indian team under Greg Chappell. (indianexpress.com)

But the Kangaroos have more than a game to lose if they lose the second ODI on a trot. This time around it will also be about the reputation that they have so far failed to uphold and the skipper will be one jittery cricketer. The Indian wrist spinner may have given him nightmares but it is our death bowling he still has to get a taste of.

Australia rather have some batting problems to solve. The Test loss against Bangladesh highlighted their travails against spin. And in Chennai, they lost nine wickets in 21 overs in a truncated game. A top-heavy batting lineup on paper, heavily dependent on David Warner and Smith and bereft of a settled No. 4 – doesn’t inspire much confidence (indianexpress.com)

All in all it will be comeback match for the visitors and unlike the drab showing we got to see against Sri Lanka and West Indies, this time around the spirit of competition will be palpable. It is the rain that may play spoil sport and deprive us of a match that might just give us a glimpse of the action that will be at display in the 2019 World Cup.

Australia have won only one of their last 10 ODIs overseas, against Ireland. On the face of it, Eden pitch provides them with an opportunity to improve their record and level the ongoing series. In Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile they have two excellent fast bowlers who used the extra bounce at Chepauk brilliantly, bowling in the corridor. Coulter-Nile’s three wickets upfront rattled the Indian top order. (indianexpress.com)

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