On the surface, Australia made a surprising choice of batting first in the decider of the three-ODI series, in Chennai. Steven Smith, their captain, said he made the decision looking at a dry surface, which he expected to help the spinners later. Accordingly they made a change to their attack, replacing Nathan Ellis with Ashton Agar. Also David Warner replaced the unwell Cameron Green. The Australia team sheet had him listed at No. 4.
Rohit Sharma said India wanted to field anyway. He did acknowledge the conditions saying they thought of an extra fast bowler but decided against it because of the pitch. India remained unchanged.
On such surfaces, it always comes down to balancing dew and the slowness of the surface. Specifically, by batting first, Australia are hoping the dew doesn’t come in and take away the advantage they may have of bowling second on a dry pitch that will have worn even further.
India were defending an undefeated series record for over four years in all formats at home. Australia are the last team to have won an international series in India. They beat India in the ODIs just before the 2019 World Cup.
It was also a landmark match for MA Chidambram Stadium, which opened all its stands to the crowds after a long time.
Australia 1 Travis Head, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith (capt.), 4 David Warner, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Sean Abbott, 9 Ashton Agar, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Adam Zampa