Virat Kohli hailed KL Rahul's contribution as India beat Australia in Rajkot to level their ODI series at 1-1 and set up a decider on Sunday.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul scored a rapid 80 and had three dismissals behind the stumps as India scored a 36-run victory, defending a total of 340-6 by bowling out Australia for 304.

Rahul moved from number three to five in the batting order, with captain Kohli nudging up to three, as India adjusted their line-up after a 10-wicket thumping in the opening game of the series.

Kohli said: "I think it's very important to figure out what is the best team you can put on the park and when someone's batting as well as KL was batting today, it's very difficult to leave someone like that out.

"Batting at number five and batting like that for the team, this is probably the best he's played at international level according to me. That knock showed maturity and class.

"We know exactly what we're doing in the changing room. On the outside there's a lot of panic that we don't really focus on."

Kohli made 78, sharing a 103-run partnership for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, whose 96 helped anchor the innings.

"Back to three was good for the team so I'm happy from that point of view that it helped the team," Kohli said.

Paying tribute to Dhawan, Kohli added: "In ODI cricket, he's been one of our most consistent performers. When he plays well it's a good sign for the team. I'm very happy that he scored runs as well. It always augurs well when Rohit [Sharma] and Shikhar both score runs."

Australia's ODI skipper Aaron Finch accepted his side had allowed India to put too many runs on the board.

"Yes, probably, but they played very well," Finch said.

"The whole way through the innings, we were probably one wicket shy of where we really needed to be to contain them at the back end and on an outfield like this with a good wicket and world-class players it can be hard to stop no matter what attack you've got."

Steve Smith's 98 kept Australia in touch, and Marnus Labuschagne made 46 in his first ODI innings, but Australia folded in the closing overs.

Ahead of the series decider in Bengaluru, Finch sent a message to his team, saying: "You just have to make sure that when you get in, you capitalise and you go really big.

"That's probably the area where we were slightly off tonight with the bat, just one wicket too many down as the run rate kept going up."

MS Dhoni has lost his central contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), sparking fresh speculation over his international future.

Former limited-overs captain Dhoni was not among the 27 India players to receive deals for the period from October 2019 to September 2020.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has not been in action since the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup last July, though he has not officially retired from the international arena.

India coach Ravi Shastri previously said Dhoni had a chance of featuring at the T20 World Cup if he performed well in the Indian Premier League, which starts in March.

Dhoni made his international debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in 2004 and captained his country to glory at the 2007 World Twenty20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.

He featured in 90 Tests before retiring from the longest format in 2014.

Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed also lost their central contracts, while Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar were granted deals by the BCCI.

Virat Kohli has promised to "rethink" his tactics after struggling again at number four in the batting order as part of a chastening ODI defeat at the hands of Australia.

Aaron Finch and David Warner dominated proceedings as Australia cruised to a 10-wicket victory with 12.2 overs to spare in response to India's disappointing 255 all out at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

A miserable start to the three-match series saw India captain Kohli caught and bowled by Adam Zampa for 16 just after he had hit the spinner for six.

Kohli is the world's number one batsman in the 50-over format but 16 is in fact his highest score from fourth in the order as part of a dreadful seven-innings streak that dates back to January 2015.

"We've had this discussion many times in the past," Kohli, who dropped down the order after Rohit Sharma's return, said to Star Sports.

"Because of the way KL Rahul has been batting, we have tried to fit him in the batting line-up.

"Having said that, I don't think it's quite gone our way whenever I've batted number four, so we'll probably have to rethink about that one.

"All in all, it's about giving some guys opportunities and you'll never know if this works or not if you don't try. 

"It's very easy to just go with one template and just follow it non-stop. I think people need to relax and not panic with one game, I'm allowed to experiment a little bit and fail as well at times. 

"You lose games here and there, but this was one of the days where it didn't come off."

Rahul (47) put on 121 for the second wicket along with Shikhar Dhawan (74), but his dismissal proved the turning point for Australia's bowlers, as India quickly fell to 164-5.

Set 256 to win, Warner (128 not out off 112 balls) and Finch (110no from 114) enjoyed a day to remember with the highest opening stand in an ODI against India, leaving the hosts with plenty to think about before the second game in Rajkot on Friday.

"It's just one bad day at office," added Dhawan. "We played well against West Indies before. As a team we back each other, and we don't focus too much on a loss.

"They played really well. We were a bit unlucky as well, like a few top edges went here and there, they didn't go in the hand.

"When KL got out, at that time we planned to accelerate and those four wickets we lost, that's where we lost the momentum.

"From there, we were targeting 300 runs and because of loss of wickets we ended up scoring less runs on that sort of a wicket. In bowling, we could not take wickets and they outplayed us. It is the captain's choice [where he bats]."

Evin Lewis scored a century as West Indies swept the ODI series with Ireland 3-0 by securing a five-wicket Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory.

The Windies already had the series wrapped up going into Sunday's finale in Grenada, and they were again dominant in St George's.

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie led by example with 71 while Andy McBrine gave the innings late impetus with an unbeaten 25.

However, the tourists were bowled out for 203 as leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (4-36) and Oshane Thomas (3-41) starred with the ball for the Windies.

That target proved well within the reach of the Windies in a rain-affected chase, which saw them pursue a revised target of 197 from 47 overs.

Lewis, who struck 99 in the opening game, was the talisman once more as he hit six fours and five maximums in a superb 97-ball knock, scoring his first international century in the Windies.

Nicholas Pooran added an unbeaten 43, with the Windies surpassing the target with 64 balls to spare. Attention now turns to a three-match T20I series, which begins at the same venue on Wednesday.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo was called up for the T20s on Sunday after coming out of international retirement.

West Indies claimed an ODI series win over Ireland after a thrilling one-wicket victory in Bridgetown on Thursday.

In an extraordinary finish at Kensington Oval, the Windies went past their target of 238 with one ball remaining in the second ODI.

Sheldon Cottrell hit a six off the second last ball of the innings to give the hosts a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

But Ireland were left to lament what could have been after an incredible finish to the contest.

Paul Stirling (63) had guided Ireland to 237-9 after they elected to bat first, with Alzarri Joseph (4-32) again starring for the Windies.

Rain delays impacted the Windies' chase as Nicholas Pooran (52) and Kieron Pollard (40) looked to have them on track for victory.

Hayden Walsh made an unbeaten 46, but it still took a nervy finish for the hosts to get over the line.

Ireland almost found a decisive run out off the third ball of the final over, but replays were inconclusive as to whether Mark Adair broke the stumps with the ball or his hands with Cottrell well short of his ground.

They should have sealed victory off the next ball after a mix up between Walsh and Cottrell but, with both batsmen almost stranded at one end, the latter recovered after Adair was unable to cleanly take a throw.

That would be Ireland's last chance as Cottrell smashed a six over covers off the next ball to clinch victory.

The final game of the series is at St George's on Saturday.

Alzarri Joseph and Evin Lewis guided West Indies to a relatively comfortable five-wicket win over Ireland in their first ODI in Bridgetown on Tuesday.

Joseph ripped through Ireland, who elected to bat first at Kensington Oval, taking 4-32 as they were rolled for just 180.

Lorcan Tucker (31) top-scored for Ireland in the opening game of three ODIs, but they struggled after being reduced to 88-6.

Lewis ensured there were few hiccups in the chase for the Windies as the opener held firm despite wickets falling around him, the hosts reaching their target with 100 balls to spare.

Brandon King (20), Roston Chase (19) and Nicholas Pooran (17) provided enough support for Lewis, who dominated.

The left-hander hit 13 fours and two sixes on his way to an unbeaten 99 off as many balls as he fell agonisingly short of a third ODI century.

Needing one to win and sitting on 95, Lewis produced a huge drive as he chased a ton, but it bounced just before the rope and went for four.

The second game of the series is in Bridgetown on Thursday.

Australia head coach Justin Langer does not expect major changes for the tour of Bangladesh later this year after back-to-back Test series triumphs on home soil.

Langer's Australia enjoyed a flawless summer Down Under after completing a 3-0 series sweep of trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Monday, having previously dispatched Pakistan 2-0.

Australia's batsmen and bowlers flexed their muscles in local conditions and Langer flagged few changes for the team's next Test assignment – away to Bangladesh in June.

"In the spirit of that continuity, it'd be hard to break up that squad," Langer told reporters on Tuesday, a day after Australia wrapped up a thumping 279-run win over New Zealand in the third and final Test at the SCG.

"We might add an all-rounder and another spinner because we're going to get spinning conditions."

Australia's last trip to Bangladesh resulted in a remarkable series draw against the Tigers in 2017.

Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood – who missed the final two Tests against the Black Caps due to injury – are set to be at the forefront for Australia.

Whether all four quicks will face Bangladesh in June is yet to be decided but Langer said: "I remember when Australia won after many, many years in India – in 2004 – it was on the back of some very, very disciplined fast bowling.

"Adam Gilchrist was the captain, we had very clear plans and we talked about that during the Ashes series. We had very clear plans on that [tour]. So it could happen, it'd be so hard to leave out one of those three or four [fast] bowlers.

"We'll look at that when it comes to Bangladesh, but there's a good combination at the moment. It also helps with Marnus [Labuschagne] bowling leg-spin and also helps with Travis Head being able to bowl a few overs [of off-spin] as well."

In the meantime, Australia's attention will turn to the white ball for a three-game ODI series away to India, starting January 14.

Andrew McDonald will lead Australia in India as coach Langer takes a break.

"I said to him this morning, 'we're not reinventing the wheel'. He's got a really good opportunity," Langer said. "I'm so confident in our coaching staff now with the cricket side of things. A lot of the time now I think about the cricket 30 per cent of the time, the rest of the time all the other stuff that goes with it: the bigger picture, the cultural stuff.

"He's an excellent coach, we've got other excellent coaches to back him up. I said to him I won't ring him, I'll let him go. He said 'I might ring you', that's the difference. He'll do a really good job."

Cricket West Indies boss Ricky Skerritt is hitting back at critics who have said he is going back on a pledge to hire local coaches to help get West Indies back to winning ways.

India captain Virat Kohli is against the prospect of reducing Test matches to four days and fears it could eventually lead to debates over the future of the format. 

Four-day Tests are among the proposals the International Cricket Council is considering as they organise the international calendar for the period from 2023 until 2031.

Kohli is preparing his team for limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand this month.

But the 31-year-old, who has 27 Test centuries, took the opportunity to speak out against the proposed changes to the longest format of the game.

"I am not a fan," he told reporters about four-day Tests. "I think the intent will not be right because then you will speak of three-day Tests. 

"Where do you end? Then you will speak of Test cricket disappearing. I don't endorse that at all.

"I don't think that's fair to the purest format of the game, how cricket started initially. 

"Five-day Test matches was the highest you can have at the international level. According to me, it shouldn't be altered."

Optional four-day Tests and day-night matches in the longest format are already in operation. Kohli is more of a fan of the latter change, which he thinks boosts crowds and levels of interest.

"Day-night cricket is the most that should be changed about Test cricket, according to me," added Kohli, the world's number one batsman in Tests and ODIs.

"Then you're purely going to be talking about getting the numbers in and entertainment. I think it is very, very crucial to market Test cricket like we do for T20 and one-day cricket. 

"If there's enough buzz created around Test cricket, then there will be a lot more keenness to come to the stadiums.

"Day-night is another step towards commercialising Test cricket and creating excitement around it but it can't be tinkered with too much. I don't believe so."

Of other new formats, Kohli explained why he had steered clear of the England and Wales Cricket Board's new The Hundred competition.

He said: "T20 was a revelation in terms of introduction of a new format. 

"I was asked about the 100-ball format and I said I am not going to go and try myself out in another format because there's already so much going on."

Australia have added D'Arcy Short to their ODI squad for the upcoming tour of India.

The opening batsman has been drafted in as a replacement for Sean Abbott, who is expected to miss between three and four weeks with a side strain sustained during the Sydney Sixers' Big Bash League fixture against Sydney Thunder last Friday.

National Selector Trevor Hohns said: "It is extremely unfortunate for Sean who is very much a part of our white ball squad plans leading into the ICC T20 World Cup and the World Cup.

"D'Arcy offers the squad another spinning all-rounder option along with Ashton Agar, which along with the four world-class fast bowlers and Adam Zampa balances the squad out nicely. 

"His proven record and ability to bat anywhere in the order will also be a great asset to the squad."

Short has played four ODIs for Australia, the last of which came against South Africa in November 2018.

Australia will play three ODIs in India between January 14 and 19.

Peter Siddle has called time on his international career after 11 years representing Australia in Test, ODI and Twenty20 cricket.

Veteran bowler Siddle made the announcement prior to day four of the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne on Sunday.

The 35-year-old, who was overlooked for the final XI to face the Black Caps at the MCG, decided to call it quits on the international stage following 67 Tests.

Siddle – a member of Australia's triumphant Ashes series in England – claimed 221 wickets at 30.66 after making his Test debut against India in 2008.

The Victorian paceman, who is Australia's 13th highest Test wicket-taker, also played 20 ODIs and a pair of T20s for Australia.

"It's always hard to know when the right time is," Siddle Fox Cricket. "The Ashes was the main goal, to try and get on that touring party and be a part of that series.

"Once I'd ticked that off, I was talking to 'Painey' [captain Tim Paine] and JL [Justin Langer] – I thought I could have done it there, but the chance of getting one last crack if it came in Australia, to [have one more Test] at home would have been nice.

"To think as a young kid I wouldn't get a chance to play, I'm obviously very happy and a bit sad."

Australia head coach Justin Langer said: "The year after I retired from playing, Matty Hayden and Ricky Ponting were raving about this guy called Peter Siddle. If it came from them, you knew it was right and so it proved throughout his brilliant international career.

"He is an unbelievable bloke and an extremely good cricketer. He is the everything of what a team player is. He has given his heart and soul to the Australian team and the game of cricket.

"We'll always be thankful to him for what he's given to the national team, and for the critical role he played in helping us retain the Ashes in England this year. He's going out when he's still playing well which, in a perfect world, is something every athlete wants to do."

Captain Tim Paine added: "Sids has been the heart and soul of the team for a long time. I remember coming up through with him through the academies and even back then he was one of the great team men, something he has continued to this day.

"He has a massive heart and is a fantastic bowler. He'll be very much missed around the group. He's been unbelievably good for our younger fast bowlers over the last 18 months and been a great support for me during that time, as well.

"It's sad to see him leave international cricket, but the time is right for him. He's had a wonderful career, he's achieved a lot and I know he's still got plenty to offer in domestic cricket."

India have included fit-again duo Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan in their squads for the upcoming limited-overs games against Sri Lanka and Australia.

Paceman Bumrah has not played for his country since the Test series against West Indies concluded early in September due to a stress fracture of the back.

However, the 26-year-old is set to make his return in the three-match Twenty20 series with Sri Lanka, which takes place early in January.

Bumrah – who was part of India's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup - will also be involved when Australia are the visitors for three one-dayers later in the same month.

Dhawan also returns, the opening batsman available after overcoming a leg injury. However, Hardik Pandya is absent as he continues to recover from a back problem.

Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, is rested for the Sri Lanka series, along with fast bowler Mohammed Shami.

The first T20 takes place on January 5 in Guwahati, followed by games in Indore (January 7) and Pune (January 10).

As for the series with Australia, that begins in Mumbai on January 14. Virat Kohli's side will then be in 50-over action in Rajkot three days later, followed by the finale in Bangalore on January 19.

 

India squad for T20 series against Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Washington Sundar.

India squad for ODI series against Australia: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is not yet a frustrated man but the big all-rounder is noticing a trend with his side he would like to put an end to.

"I thought we gave it away in the last 20 overs with the ball, didn't execute well,” said Pollard, voicing a sentiment he has on at least three occasions since the start of a tour to India.

The West Indies were bat out of a game against India in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday after the hosts posted a mammoth 387-5 with man-of-the-match, Rohit Sharma, slamming 159 from 138 deliveries and KL Rahul more than helping with 102 from 104 balls. All-rounder, Shreyas Iyer, scoring 53 from 32 to help push the score along as the West Indies gave up too many in the closing stages of the first innings.

The West Indies, in reply, scored 280 all out in 43.3 overs, with Shai Hope, 78, and Nicholas Pooran, 75, doing the bulk of the scoring. Keemo Paul also had an enterprising cameo, scoring 46, to take the visitors to the total.

Still, Pollard believes the batting of India shows there is reason to fear the power the West Indies batting line-up has on offer.

“It goes to show in order for them to win, they've to score big against us,” said the skipper.

Again, Pollard reminded his charges that there were little things the team had to get right if they were to turn some of these losses to wins.

“For us, it's looking to improve in small areas. We weren't able to execute our plans like we would've liked. Maybe 40-50 runs less, it would've been much different,” said Pollard.

Pollard did give some of the credit for the nature of the defeat to the opposition, saying the start the openers gave the Indian middle-order made things easy for them.

“Credit to them, Rohit and KL batted well, it allowed the guys lower down the order to come and score freely.”

The series is now tied at one apiece with one ODI remaining and Pollard has issued a warning to the hosts that the one-sidedness of the defeat doesn’t mean the West Indies have dropped their shoulders or that the series won’t still go the way of the visitors.

“Pooran and Hetmyer - talented youngsters who I've spoken about earlier. Hope too has shown consistency in the way he goes about his game. It's a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, nothing happens overnight. We deserve to go out with a bang, our heads and shoulders are still high. We'll come back and fight hard in a couple of days."

Rohit Sharma smashed his seventh one-day international century of 2019 before Kuldeep Yadav took a hat-trick as India levelled their series against West Indies with a 107-run victory.

An opening partnership worth 227 between Rohit (159) and KL Rahul (102) laid the platform for the home side to post 387-5, with Shreyas Iyer (53) and Rishabh Pant (39) providing late fireworks after captain Virat Kohli fell for a golden duck.

Some brutal hitting from Shai Hope (78) and Nicholas Pooran (75) gave the Windies belief, yet Mohammed Shami (3-39) struck in back-to-back deliveries as visiting skipper Kieron Pollard was also dismissed first ball.

Kuldeep (3-52) then became the first Indian to claim two ODI hat-tricks as Kohli's side bowled West Indies out for 280 to wrap up the win with 6.3 overs to spare, setting up a decider in the third and final ODI on Sunday.

Rohit, the leading run-scorer in ODIs this year, was dropped on 70 by Shimron Hetmyer in the 28th over and he went on to beat his partner Rahul to three figures.

It was Rohit's seventh ODI century in 2019 and his 10th across all formats; only Sachin Tendulkar with nine centuries in 1998 has accrued more three-figure scores in the 50-over game across a calendar year.

Rahul soon joined him in bringing up that milestone but he fell later that over when he picked out third man, and India lost wickets in successive overs as Kohli offered Roston Chase a simple catch at short midwicket off Pollard.

Rohit became the first Indian to score 150 in an ODI this year with a fifth maximum of his innings and, after he nicked Sheldon Cottrell behind, Iyer and Pant hit the accelerator, the pair scoring 55 across the 46th and 47th overs to leave the tourists chasing a huge total.

Opener Hope was dropped at slip by Rahul from his first ball faced but India picked up three wickets in quick succession to go from 61 without loss to 86-3.

Hetmyer fell to some fantastic fielding from Iyer, who dove to save a boundary before recovering and delivering a pinpoint throw to the non-striker's end, though Hope and Pooran soon took the field out of the equation with some huge hitting.

In among his six maximums, Pooran was dropped, yet his 106-run stand with Hope was eventually ended when he top-edged down to Kuldeep.

Pollard was removed from the very next ball – the first time in ODIs both captains had been dismissed for golden ducks – and while Shami could not get a hat-trick, Kuldeep did.

Hope was the first of that trio to go, Kohli leaping up and balancing on one leg by the rope to take the catch, with Jason Holder stumped and Alzarri Joseph edging to second slip.

Shami, now the leading wicket-taker in ODIs this year, took his 41st wicket of 2019 by bowling Keemo Paul (46) to seal the win.

In-form Australia star Marnus Labuschagne is in line to make his ODI debut as part of seven changes for next month's tour of India.

An established Test member, uncapped ODI batsman Labuschagne is part of a 14-man squad set to face India in a three-match series, starting January 14.

Led by assistant coach Andrew McDonald as Justin Langer rests, the Australia team also includes Josh Hazlewood, despite the paceman sitting out the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand due to a hamstring injury.

However, there is no room for seven players that featured in the Cricket World Cup semi-final loss to England – Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Lyon, while Jason Behrendorff is injured.

"As one of the leadership group it's important to show that not only are we focused on getting the balance right for the players but equally the coaches and staff, head coach included," Langer said.

"'Macca' is an exceptional coach in all forms of the game and has been fantastic since coming on board. He will do a great job with this squad. We are in very, very good hands."

National selector Trevor Hohns added: "The performance of our white ball squads has been strong, and we are hoping to build the momentum towards the T20 World Cup at home at the end of the year and ultimately build towards the 2023 ICC World Cup in India.
 
"The performance of the top order at home through the T20 Series was very strong so we look for that to continue in the Indian ODI series. We also believe Marnus Labuschagne is ready for his international white ball debut after his strong form for Queensland in this form of the game."

Australia will face India in Mumbai before matches in Rajkot (January 17) and Bengaluru (January 19).

 

Australia squad for India tour: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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