Glenn Maxwell during game three of the One Day International Series between Australia and India at MCG. Photo: Scott Barbour
A crowd edging to 50,000 saw India reach 295 batting first, sent in by Steve Smith. Six wickets fell achieving that score. Rohit Sharma (6) fell cheaply, Shikhar Dhawan ground out runs (68) and Ajinkya Rahane (50) played a solid supportive role to a glorious masterclass from Virat Kohli of 117 runs off 117 balls. Kohli's 24th ODI century delighted the mainly blue crowd and set Australia a challenging total.
Australia were able to rocket off to a start before Aaron Finch (21) edged to MS Dhoni. When Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed the big wickets of Steve Smith (41) and George Bailey (23) the fielding side lifted with the sense of a possible victory. Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh (62) were able to regroup with Maxwell playing a mature and skillful innings of 96 off 83 balls including 8 fours and 3 sixes.
Australia won by 3 wickets with 7 balls remaining going 3 nil up in the series.
On Macquarie Radio during the innings break Tim Lane considered an ODI series dominated by bat over ball at a level not seen in Australia. "Either the batsmen have been absolutely outstanding to be better in terms of the relativity to bowling success or the pitches are loading the dice in their favour like never before" he pondered.
In addition to the wicket, Tom Moody suggested a few aspects that may have contributed to the imbalance.
Rule changes have made an impact, "from the 10th over to the 40th over the captain is obliged to leave 5 fielders inside the ring, it leaves a real opening in the field that batsmen can exploit . Batsmen are craftier in regards to skills. They have the ability to play a lot more shots."
The dimension of grounds have also played a part, "there once was no such thing as a rope, now it is in 10 metres, sometimes more" Moody said. Finally the bats are different "miss hits still go for 4 sometimes 6, and chances that were once caught in the ring now balloon over the infielders."
Glenn McGrath doesn't suppose as much gain has been made by the bowlers, in fact it's the opposite. "I think the skill level of bowling yorkers and executing them well has gone down hill, with Mitchell Starc and Malinga the exceptions."