Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/10/22/aussies-embracing-indian-challenge

Aussies embracing Indian challenge

UPDATED 22 October, 2013 7:09PM AEST | by AAP

Australia's destructive opener Aaron Finch can't understand the sudden interest in the one-day day series with India.

Initially derided as an inconvenient obligation which threatened to derail Australia's Ashes preparations, it is now being hailed as the saviour to the one-day format after back-to-back thrilling contests.

But Finch says the signs were there all along that this title fight was going to go the distance.

"I think so, it's one versus two in the world," he told AAP in Ranchi ahead of Wednesday's fourth game of the seven-match series.

"I reckon the way that both teams are playing one-day cricket these days is very entertaining to watch."

Victory in Ranchi, the hometown of India captain MS Dhoni, would give Australia a 3-1 series lead and go a long way towards maintaining their excellent ODI record in the subcontinent.

Despite their Test failings in India, Australia have enjoyed remarkable success in the shorter format, having not lost a seven-match ODI series on Indian soil.

In the six ODI series between the two nations on Indian soil, Australia has triumphed on four occasions.

They lost their most recent encounter, a three-match series in 2010, when two matches were rained out.

But in 2007 and 2009 Australia took 4-2 series victories, while they also triumphed in 2001.

Prior to that, you need to go back to 1986 for Indian success at home against Australia in the 50-over format.

And Finch says to open up a two-game break in the series would be significant.

"Of course it would be huge; I think the next couple of games are going to be really interesting," he said.

"We know we've got a real opportunity to go 3-1 up here and that would be a fantastic position to be in.

"The expectations that come with being up in the series are probably higher but we're we're excited about that.

"We're embracing the challenge."

The formula on this tour has been simple: make the most of the conditions and use 300 as the target for every innings.

It has worked, with Australia passing 300 in all three matches to date - with their only loss coming on the back of India's record-breaking chase of 360 in game two.

"I think the way that our tactics have changed over the last couple of months from the England series (which Australia won 2-1), where we thought we played really well, we've come here with a lot of confidence, the batters are backing themselves," Finch said.

"I reckon we've scored 300 more times than we haven't in the last couple of months."

Despite heavy rain falling in the evenings, Finch expects to face a slower, lower pitch more in line with the conditions in Pune in game one than the harder, faster wickets on offer in Jaipur and Mohali.

"I played an IPL game here earlier in the year and it was quite slow and turned a little bit ... I don't expect it to be too different," Finch said.

"It will turn a bit more, which obviously suits their tactics a bit more than ours."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

First Posted 22 October, 2013 7:03PM AEST

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