Australia hopes for Finch boost

If Finch is available, it could take some pressure off captain Steven Smith, who has appeared to be the lone option to play the sheet-anchor’s role in the first two games.

Aaron Finch, who batted at the nets in Indore on Saturday, had missed out on the first couple of games due to injury.   -  PTI

Sticks was the order of the day. While the locals were preparing for garba nights, revelling in a traditional dance performed with bamboo sticks during the navratri festival, the police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the swelling crowd outside the Holkar Stadium as the Men in Blue trained on the eve of the third ODI. By then, the Australian contingent had safely reached the confines of its hotels.

Even before leaving the stadium, the Australian group wore a smile to see top-order batsman Aaron Finch giving a stick to his fellow bowlers along with a sea of net bowlers. Finch has over the last few years emerged a vital cog in Australia's white-ball squads and his calf injury that forced him to sit out the first two matches exposed inexperienced Hilton Cartwright against a quality bowling attack.

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The élan with which Finch batted during his long stint in the morning virtually sealed the doubt over his availability for Sunday's match, a must-win for Australia for keeping the series alive. “I think you know what he’s going to bring. He’s a very good batter and he’s played a lot of cricket for us over the last couple of years,” said opener David Warner. “He’s got a lot of experience and for us at the top of the order he brings a lot of aggression. It’s good signs to see him back in the nets and he’s doing everything possible he can to be fit for this game.”

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If Finch is available, it could take some pressure off captain Steven Smith, who has appeared to be the lone option to play the sheet-anchor’s role in the first two games. Besides, Finch's presence could also free up Warner and Glenn Maxwell to try and unsettle India's new-ball bowlers and the wrist spin combination alike.

The Australian batsmen have found it difficult to read wrist-spins from leftie Kuldeep Yadav and conventional leggie Yzvendra Chahal. Warner didn't agree with the assessment of Aussie batsmen faltering to read the spinners.

“I find that the players can read them and there’s the odd one or two that you probably can’t see the seam and then the players react off the wicket. That’s probably the odd one here or there,” Warner said.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to have a game plan against the spin. Whether or not it’s hit down the ground or sweep the ball and when you’re losing wickets in clumps you become tentative so you have to apply that pressure. If you get off to a good start and the spinners come on it’s a different game then. It’s about the tempo of the game and the situation of the game. I feel if we’re in a different position you’re going to see a different mode against the spinners or a different tempo.”