Aussie refusal that India might be regretting

AUSTRALIA have the chance to rub India's nose into the dirt for refusing to add an extra ODI to the bizarre series that would've seen the BCCI rake in millions of dollars of bonus revenue.

It has been revealed Cricket Australia offered a play an extra game at no cost, in return for rescheduling the series outside of Australia's summer.

But India refused and instead captain Aaron Finch's men will look to wrap up back-to-back ODI series wins in Rajkot on Friday night, a feat last accomplished by a touring team by Australia back in 2009.

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The Aussies have played 943 ODIs but few were more convincing than Tuesday's 10-wicket win.

Josh Hazlewood is expected to make his white-ball return on Friday, with Australia set to give Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins a break in the final two matches.

The three-format superstars - who toiled through a five-Test home summer and T20 series - were both brilliant in Mumbai.

But with three ODIs in five days - all in different Indian cities - the Aussies are keen to rotate their fast bowlers, however they will not change their largely unused batting line-up in Rajkot.

That means D'Arcy Short and Pete Handscomb could fly home on Monday without featuring in the heavyweight series.

Remarkably, wicketkeeper Alex Carey has not had to pick up a bat in seven white-ball games since last year's World Cup semi-final due to Australia's white-ball dominance.

Hazlewood has not played an ODI since 2018.

The Aussies need just one more win, either in Rajkot or on Sunday in Bangalore, to clinch the three-match series.

A victory on Thursday night would also extend Australia's record winning sequence in Asia to 10 ODIs.

Kane Richardson got the nod over Hazlewood in Mumbai and Finch lauded his Big Bash teammate's "outstanding" death bowling.

Finch called Rajkot's Khandheri Cricket Stadium home for two Indian Premier League seasons, when he played for Gujarat Lions from 2016-17, and tipped another run-fest tonight.

"It's a beautiful place to bat," Finch said.

Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami overpitched some loose balls to Finch early in Mumbai, allowing the skipper to get off to a flyer on a night he crushed 110 not-out (114).

Finch struggled to pick Kuldeep Yadav early, but with the runs already flowing against the seamers the pressure was eased.

Partner David Warner declared it was the best he'd seen Finch bat. Finch's record in Asia is now better than anywhere else and he now averages more than 50 in India.

The Aussies are still reaping the benefits of the four-hour crisis meeting coach Justin Langer held at Southbank's Quay West hotel during the 2018 Boxing Day Test.

The role clarification stemming from that meeting has helped guide the Aussies to 16 wins from their past 19 ODIs.

"There's a real confidence in the group," Finch said.

"Over the last 12 months, give or take a few different selections, it's been nice to have a bit of continuity."


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