Cardiff: Led by the talented Virat Kohli, Indian batsmen will look to continue the good work done against Sri Lanka, as they take on Australia in their second and final warm-up game Tuesday ahead of the Champions Trophy.
The match will also be a dress rehearsal of sorts for the 'Men In Blue' as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will more or less decide on his likely playing XI based on the performance of the two warm-up games.
It will be a test for Kohli and Co against Australian seamers who are relatively better than the Lankans. The left-arm seam troika of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner could prove to be a handful if conditions favour swing bowling. While Starc is coming back from an injury, Johnson and Faulkner have been in fantastic form in the recently concluded IPL in which both were among the top-five wicket-takers.
Team India would surely take a lot of confidence from the fact that it successfully chased down a mammoth Lankan total of 333 with consummate ease. Kohli plundered 144 while comeback man Dinesh Karthik, by scoring a fine century, staked a strong claim for a place in the playing XI.
What might be a worrying factor for Dhoni is the performance of 'IPL Specialist' Rohit Sharma. Despite enjoying a fine IPL, Rohit as usual flattered to deceive in India colours as he was out in a pathetic fashion during the first warm-up game. Non-performance for India is nothing new with Rohit but it will be interesting to see how long Dhoni carries the Mumbaikar based purely on his talent.
Suresh Raina, Dhoni and the two openers would expect that they get some more time before the real action starts on Thursday. Dhoni will also be a touch worried with the performance of his bowlers in the first warm-up game. The Sri Lankan batsmen seemingly didn't do anything special yet notched up a score in excess of 325.
Agreed that the Edgbaston track suited stroke players in the absence of sufficent lateral movement, but the likes of Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Raganath Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar hardly maintained any discipline in terms of line and length. Dhoni didn't use his fastest bowler, Umesh Yadav, during the match but the Vidarbha lad is expected to play against Australia.
The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra also couldn't make much of an impact as all players were allowed to play in the unofficial one dayer. As of now, it's an open secret that Ashwin will don the mantle of premier spinner while the skipper's Go-To Man 'Sir Jadeja' is expected to figure in the line-up.
For Australia, a good performance in the tournament will give them much needed boost ahead of their real battle -- The Ashes. After the 0-4 drubbing at the hands of India a couple of months back, Michael Clarke would expect that his team would produce a much improved performance in the 50-over version.
Shane Watson's return to form during the IPL is a positive sign for the Aussies. That he has started bowling adds the necessary balance to the line-up that has some talented youngsters like Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh to name a few.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Australia: Michael Clarke (C), George Bailey, David Warner, David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Coultier-Nile, Clint McKay.
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