India and Australia are not just any names in World Cricket; they are the most successful teams with a combined total of 7 World Cup Wins and 3 Runners-up positions. A clash between such teams is always a feast for Cricket fans around the World.
Australia travel to India, on back of their below-par 1-1 Test Series draw against Bangladesh while India are riding high after their 9-0 battering of Sri Lanka across all the three formats. The two teams are scheduled to play five ODIs and three T20s.
The first ODI is at the spinner friendly MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Being the last series before an important Ashes season, Australia have quite some issues to address to, while India must try to prove their 9-0 battering of Sri Lanka is no fluke.
India have won eight of their last ten recent ODIs, losing just one against West Indies and failed to have a result in the other ODI. On the other hand, Australia have won four, lost four, and there was no result in another three ODIs.
The recent form does not do full justice if we go into deeper analysis. Australia have lost their last eight away ODIs, and we have to go back to September 2016 to find an Australian win(against Ireland) in an away ODI. And during the same time(eight Home Matches), India have won five and lost 3 ODIs.
India will miss Shikhar Dhawan for the first three ODIs, and Ajinkya Rahane is the most likely replacement for Dhawan with KL Rahul having an outside chance. Ravindra Jadeja has been added to the squad and will act as a like for like replacement for Axar Patel, who has injured his ankle during a practice session and will be unavailable for the first three ODIs.
On current form, Kuldeep Yadav will take up the responsibilities as the lead spinner with Jadeja and Chahal fighting for the second spinner’s slot.
Meanwhile, Australia will have to do with a makeshift opening partnership of Warner and Travis Head, having lost Finch to a Calf problem for the first two ODIs. Adam Zampa will be the leading spinner with Maxwell expected to fulfil the second spinner role ahead of Ashton Agar, due to his experience of playing in the Indian Premier League.
Pitch and Conditions at MA Chidambaram Stadium
The pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium has always been a high scoring pitch with an average first innings score of 264. But, the average first innings score between these two teams has been a very high 321 since 2013 and scores of over 300 in both the innings are possible.
India: Rahane/Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Jadhav/Rahul, Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Chahal/Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Bumrah
Australia: Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith(c), Handscomb, Maxwell, Stoinis, Wade (wk), Faulkner, Cummins, Zampa, Coulter-Nile
With the overflowing confidence back of their drubbing of Sri Lanka, India are the favourites. The home advantage, along with Rohit Sharma’s almost impossible numbers over the past 13 matches(1104 runs, 102.88 Batting Average and 110.4 Strike Rate) against Australia, should see India going one up in the ODI series.