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Finch return firms for must-win clash

Victorian could come back for Indore clash while a state teammate might have a new role

Opener Aaron Finch could make a return to Australia's XI for their must-win game against India on Sunday after he trained strongly at practice on Saturday morning.

Finch missed the first two matches of the series due to a right calf problem but gave every indication on Saturday that he's returned to full fitness.

The Victorian was put through an intensive sprint session under the watch of experienced physio Alex Kountouris and after taking some catches at first slip, had a lengthy stint in the outfield nets at the 28,000-seat Holkar Stadium.


In between shots, the opener sprinted well between the wickets and his fitness will be assessed on match morning to determine if he’s clear to make a return.

"It's good signs to see him back in the nets and he's doing everything possible to be fit for this game," Finch's long-time opening partner David Warner said.

"We know what he's going to bring. He's a very good batter, he's played a lot of cricket over the past couple of years, he's got a lot of experience and for us at the top of the order, he brings a lot of aggression."

If Finch is cleared to play, he will seemingly replace rookie opener Hilton Cartwright, who managed just two runs in his first two one-day internationals to start this series.

The Aussies will confirm their XI at the toss on Sunday with Peter Handscomb also a chance to play as the tourists look to make amends for their poor showing with the bat in Kolkata last Thursday.

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Handscomb did some wicketkeeping drills with fielding coach Brad Haddin on Saturday and is the only option to take the gloves should selectors opt to discard out-of-form keeper-batsman Matthew Wade.

Wade has posted single-figure scores in five out of six innings since scoring a superb century against Pakistan in January and there was strong speculation on the recent Test tour of Bangladesh that Handscomb would take the gloves for the second match of that series in Chittagong, although that never eventuated.

Cartwright, whose strong performances in JLT Sheffield Shield cricket led to his elevation into Australia's Test side for two matches this year, averages less than 25 with the bat in 50-over cricket and managed just 101 runs at 17 for Western Australia in the domestic one-day competition last summer.

Cartwright's selection for this tour was criticised by former Test opener Ed Cowan this week, who said the top-performing batsmen in domestic 50-over cricket have been ignored.

Warner defended his younger teammate, who has been undone by two incisive opening bowling spells from Indian new-ball pair Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

"It's always challenging as a young guy to come into a team and take a bull by its horns," Warner said. "It's very, very difficult.

"Especially when you come over here and play for the first time on the world stage against one of the best one-day teams in the world in their own park, it's very difficult and it can be overwhelming.

"What he brings to us is experience in his knowledge of the game. He's a workaholic, he loves the game of cricket, he brings a good dynamic to our set-up and we thoroughly love having him here."


Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures


September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur


T20 Fixtures


October 1: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad