Rattled India to end Kohli experiment
INDIA are approaching crisis mode with captain Virat Kohli under fire for a batting experiment that is set to be reversed as it grapples with a concussion blow to Rishabh Pant.
While captain Aaron Finch said he expected Kohli to again bat at No.4, one of the most adored leaders in the country is considering moving back to first drop, where he has played 180 ODIs.
Pant will miss Friday's game and India can't replace the wicketkeeper with uncapped gloveman Sanju Samson, who is in New Zealand with the India A tour.
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Specialist opener KL Rahul is expected to stand behind the stumps, as he did after Pant went down during Tuesday's game, and also slide down to the foreign position of No.4.
That would allow order to be restored at the top with Kohli to bat at No.3 and Sihkhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma to open.
Finch rated Kohli "the best one-day player of all time" and was not surprised that the Indian leader chose to demote himself to No.4 in Mumbai.
Adam Zampa's golden run against Kohli continued when he dismissed the skipper for the fourth time in 12 months, sharpening the focus on the batting rejig.
But Finch - who will play under Kohli in this year's Indian Premier League - said the move made sense, given the hot streak Rahul was on after scores of 102 and 77 against West Indies last month.
With Dhawan (knee) injured, Rahul and Rohit Sharma had been opening the batting for India and piling on the runs.
But with Dhawan back, Kohli chose to drop down to No.4, entering in the 28th over and making just 16, so the three openers could fill the top order.
"The form Rahul has been in, he's been smacking them," Finch said.
"I think that's why they went that way. He can be so damaging, and once he gets in he keeps going as well."
Attacking leg-spinner Zampa now has 4-126 from 97 balls to Kohli and Finch said he would turn to that match-up for the rest of the series.
"You always look at that match-up and try and get (Zampa) into the game pretty soon after," Finch said.
"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But he's the best one-day player of all time, so I'm not sure he carries too much baggage walking out to bat."
Zampa's wicket of Kohli came as the Aussies grabbed 4-30 to swing the match, and Finch was elated with the middle-order strikes that fit his team's game plan.
"Zampa's bowling straight, which is really important," Finch said.
"If you miss your length straight you're still in the game, but I think if you miss your length wide good players are not missing out there, they're going to punish you.
"His length probably got a touch full last night overall, but it's nice and straight and you can control one side of the ground a lot more when you're straight.
"His variations have been subtle but brilliant."