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India vs Australia: Minor Headaches for India to Tackle After Solid Start to Series

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: March 5, 2019, 7:37 AM IST
India vs Australia: Minor Headaches for India to Tackle After Solid Start to Series

Picture Credit: AFP

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"This is good," was Virat Kohli's reaction when India found themselves on 99/4 chasing a modest 237-run target in the first One-Day International against Australia in Hyderabad. That they achieved the target without losing any more wickets would have pleased the Indian captain no end.

These five ODIs are India's last few games before the 2019 World Cup and are going serving as a precursor to the quadrennial event considering most members in the current squad are likely to take the flight to England in May.

Having lost the two-match T20I series 2-0, India were desperate to get back to winning ways in the series opener at Hyderabad. They gave a good account of themselves restricting Australia to a below par 236/6 with Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav being the pick of the bowlers.

In the chase then Shikhar Dhawan (0), Rohit Sharma (37) and Virat Kohli (44) failed to fire as India looked in a bit of strife on a tough Hyderabad surface. But Kedar Jadhav (81*) and the ice-cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni (59*) forged a defiant unbeaten 141-run stand for the fifth wicket to help their side through to a six-wicket win.

Going into the second ODI in Nagpur on Tuesday (March 5), India will be hoping for a similar show from their players on what is expected to be a good surface for shot making.

Kohli singled out Shami and Jadhav as the big plusses from the first game. Shami hasn't been a regular in the 50-over setup but since his return has looked menacing and is even touted to pip Bhuvneshwar Kumar into the playing eleven as Jasprit Bumrah’s new ball partner. The right-arm pacer who is looking lighter and quicker has returned 15 wickets from eight matches since his return to ODI cricket. He hasn't given anything away in the top ten overs and in the death as well has looked more than a handful.

On the other hand, if Jadhav can produce performances anything similar to what he did in Hyderabad, it solves a lot of Kohli's headaches. He bowled seven overs conceding just 31 runs for a wicket and then with the bat produced a measured 81* to see his side through. India have struggled with their sixth bowling option in recent times and Jadhav is increasingly appearing to be the man ideally suited for the role.

One area of concern for India though will be Shikhar Dhawan's form. In his last 15 innings, Dhawan has only managed two half-centuries at a strike-rate of 82.95. There have been seven scores below 20 and two first-ball ducks. Certainly not ideal for India's premier opener especially with KL Rahul having shown encouraging form in the T20 series.

Dhawan does have fond memories of Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium. He has played just one ODI at the venue, incidentally against Australia in 2013, and scored a delightful 100 off 102 balls. Against the same opposition, Dhawan will be hoping to regain some of his old form.

On the bowling front, India ticked most boxes with Bumrah and Shami leading the pace unit while Kuldeep, Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja held their own with economical spells. More of the same will be expected from the bowlers come Tuesday.

Australia did their best to make a match out of it in Hyderabad but 236 was never going to be enough for a power-packed Indian batting lineup. Aaron Finch's form has been a big worry for the visitors while an unsettled middle-order has further added to their woes.

Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis started off well after Finch fell for a nought but the middle-order barring Glenn Maxwell was not able to chug along consistently. Australia have won just three of 17 ODIs since the start of 2018, a winning percentage of just 17.25. That is one record they will desperately want to improve upon. They showed they have the calibre to play in the sub-continental conditions as was on display in the two T20Is.

They are likely to be bolstered by the return of Shaun Marsh who was ruled out of the first ODI due to injury. His presence is bound to make the batting unit slightly stronger. Australia do not have a lot of options in the batting unit and will hope the current lot can come up with a much better show than what they did in Hyderabad.

It is expected to be a pleasant day in Nagpur with temperatures hovering around the 32-degree mark. Being a day/night affair the ball is likely to nip around under lights but by and large, the VCA surface looks a good one for batsmen.

Squads

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Sidharth Kaul, KL Rahul.

Australia: Aaron Finch(c), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, D Arcy Short, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye.
First Published: March 5, 2019, 7:33 AM IST
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 India 5007 116
2 New Zealand 3570 108
3 South Africa 4397 105
4 Australia 4566 104
5 England 5490 104
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