So, suddenly Australia don't look all that unbeatable, do they? In fact, if India had done the obvious thing in Kochi, which was to bat first after winning the toss, they would've been 2-1 up in the series now. This Aussie team, without McGrath and Warne, and with Ponting and Gilchrist past their best, is not as strong as it used to be.
The pitch helped too. The usual, flat tracks India rolls out for one-day matches suit the Aussies more, because they have taller and stronger bowlers. When there's a little bit in it for the bowlers, as the ones in South Africa had during the T20 World Cup, and this one in Chandigarh had for pace bowlers in the morning and spinners later, India's bowlers get into the game.
Dhoni is coming along nicely as a captain, even if he did make the wrong choice after winning the toss in Kochi, and I'm still not convinced about playing five specialist bowlers instead of using Yuvraj, Sachin and Sourav to chip in with 10 overs between them, enabling Rohit Sharma to come in for a bowler. In today's game, India lost only two wickets in 40 overs, and it still required a fantastic partnership of 47 runs in 4 overs between Dhoni and Uthappa at the end to push India to a competitive score. One more wicket would've exposed India's weakness. Only one Indian batsman, Dravid, failed in this game and that's rare in limited overs cricket. Let's see what happens in the next three games. Dhoni obviously feels using Yuvraj and Sachin lets the pressure off in the middle overs, so he wants two specialist spinners. At the same time, he wants three pace bowlers to handle most of the powerplay and slog overs. For that, he's willing to sacrifice a specialist batsman.
It's a tough call, and like I said my view is that by the law of averages you will lose more games than you win with this strategy. But I like Dhoni's guts, anyway. He switched back to the five-bowler format because he did not like his lack of options on the field in the previous game in Hyderabad. He decided he needed an experienced spinner who would take the ball away from the Aussie right-handers, and pulled Murali Karthick out of the commentary box for the job. As it turned out though, Karthick got the left-hander Hayden out - but that with an economy rate of 4.8 was a match-winning effort.
As for Sachin Tendulkar's run rate, let's leave that for the end of the series.