The Liebke Ratings: India vs Australia, third ODI

Dan Liebke Columnist

By , Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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    After two defeats in the first two games of this series, Australia headed to Indore for Game 3. Would a switch to Indore cricket make for a change of fortunes?

    It would not.

    Here are the ratings for the third ODI between India and Australia.

    Matthew Wade
    Grade: D
    The big news coming into this game was that Matthew Wade had been axed as the Australian keeper in favour of Peter Handscomb.

    Disappointing for Wade, but I suppose the writing was on the wall after the second game in which Wade’s major contribution was an endless flow of vomit due to the oppressive heat and humidity.

    The selectors must have looked at that effort and realised it was almost identical to Handscomb’s own bout of upchucking heatstroke during the recent Bangladesh tour. Except that Handscomb had made eighty more runs while spewing his guts up.

    Even more uncomfortably, several prominent social media accounts released the news of Wade’s sacking with an accompanying picture of a bag of potatoes on a scale. It was only several hours later that folks realised that instead of a photo of Wade being sacked, they’d sent out one of a sack being weighed.

    Spuds.

    Aaron Finch
    Grade: B+
    The other major change to Australia’s team was the return of Aaron Finch to the top of the order. Finch rewarded the selectors’ faith by making 124 from 125 balls, batting like some kind of super-Hilton Cartwright. Hard to think of higher praise than that.

    The gum-chewing, big-hitting opener smashed five massive sixes in his total, along with a dozen fours. Indeed, the brutality with which Finch handled the Indian bowlers’ balls was matched only by the ferocity of his own mastication, as he unleashed a near-pornographic display of power-hitting.

    When the number-crunchers at CricViz announced that 54 per cent of the runs in Finch’s innings had come from just the one shot – the drive – eyebrows were briefly raised at the astonishing stat. But, to be fair, it had been a massive hit.

    Australian batsman Aaron Finch celebrates after scoring a century, during the One Day International cricket match against South Africa in Harare Zimbabwe Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The two teams are competing in a triangular ODI series with Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Collapses
    Grade: B-
    Thanks to Finch’s silly showing off, Australia almost ran out of time to collapse in their innings. But this is a seasoned team of professional collapsers, particularly in Asian conditions.

    So when Finch was caught trying to hit another 54 per cent of his runs with a different shot in direct defiance of basic numeracy, Glenn Maxwell strode to the crease with the score at 2/224. He left with the score on 243, stumped off a wide delivery, one ball after his skipper had been caught in the deep.

    As always, the best time to have two fresh batsmen at the crease, yet to face a ball, is with fewer than eight overs remaining in the innings. And so it proved here with Travis Head pottering about for four runs before heading back to the pavilion at 5/260. Handscomb soon followed him for 3 (7) with the total at 6/275.

    Oh, sure, Marcus Stoinis was still there, but given that he hadn’t at any stage batted with a number 11, it left many fans wondering what the point of it was. Eventually, however, he combined with Ashton Agar – a quality faux-11 if ever we’ve seen one – to see Australia to a final total of 6/293.

    The total, while decent, still felt about forty to fifty runs short of a par score. But then, throughout this entire series, Australia have, at all times, felt forty to fifty runs short of a par score. That’s just how they roll.

    Ruthless efficiency
    Grade: D
    And so it turned out. India cruised to their target of 294 with 13 balls and five wickets to spare. At no stage did it look as if they were ever not going to reach the target.

    They made 68 for the loss of no wickets from their first ten overs and while there were a couple of periods where they lost two quick wickets, those momentary setbacks seemed more like training drills than anything else.

    It was all ruthlessly efficient, and hence, highly tedious stuff.

    Indeed, perhaps the highlight of the chase was when Cartwright, on as a brief substitute fielder for, oh, let’s say, Agar, took a catch off the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile, prompting Handscomb to shout ‘Cartwrighteous catch, dude!’.

    Still a lot to learn as a keeper.

    Peter Handscomb of Australia looks at the wicket keepers gloves

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    Whitewashes
    Grade: A
    Australia’s defeat in this match means that India are now favourites to whitewash the Australians 5-0 in this series. A humbling experience for Australia, especially as a precursor to England touring this summer.

    Of course, last time England arrived on an Ashes tour, Australia whitewashed them 5-0, with the moustachioed Mitchell Johnson running amok.

    But meanwhile, in the ODI taking place in England simultaneously with this one in India, Moeen Ali had gone bonkers, hitting 102 from just 57 balls.

    Could this be England’s chance to have their own Ashes clean sweep powered by the force of an unstoppable Mo? The signs seem ominous.

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