India and Australia have both been here. The last three-match ODI series they battled in, Australia managed to sweep India off their feet with a ten-wicket rout at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. But the hosts bounced back to win the next two fixtures to leave their opponents dazed. Things stand at a similar spot for both sides ahead of the second ODI in Sydney after India had no answers to Australia’s powerful batting display in the first. The prospect of what lies in the second ODI keeps both their fires burning.
India, who lost their 15th ODI to Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, looked pale on the field throughout the hosts’ batting. While their five-bowler strategy indeed backfired, it might have worked had they not misjudged the catches offered by Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. Their drops likely cost the visitors more than 50 runs along with some loose bowling and sloppy ground fielding at specific points by the likes of Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli proving further expensive.
Their batting performance was a problem too; however, one would surely back the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli to bounce back strongly after mediocre display. Arguably, the brightest spot for India was the mature and calculated knock of Hardik Pandya, who was picked as a specialist batsman over Manish Pandey. Pandya, who struck his best score in ODIs, counterattacked in the best manner India needed, pouncing on Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell while getting the odd boundary against the pacemen too.
Almost everything clicked on Friday for Australia, beginning from their opening stand, to the middle-order, the finishing part, and finally, the bowling unit, which held its nerves. It was not uncharacteristic of Aaron Finch and David Warner about the way they went about their things; however, it was on the part of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. The stunning display by both the batsmen and Smith, in particular, left India clueless and while the pair rode their luck, Smith admitted the same in the post-match presentation.
With Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins both looking off-colour, Josh Hazlewood stepped up to the task to remove Mayank Agarwal, Kohli, and Iyer followed by Adam Zampa dismissing KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja to shape Australia’s victory. However, they do have one blindspot going into the second ODI. Marcus Stoinis, who was economical in his bowling display after a first-ball duck, picked up a side injury during his seventh hour. It offers a chance to the veteran Moises Henriques or a debut for Cameron Green – both of who are like-for-like replacements.
As mentioned earlier, India and Australia have both been at this position and that almost everything clicked for the latter in the first ODI. Nonetheless, the home side does have areas they can improve and cannot afford to take the foot off the pedal. India has twice bounced back from such spots and gone on to win the series ultimately. Australia will have that in mind and hence; it is a litmus test not only for the tourists.
Australia might likely only have one change to make ahead of the second ODI at the same venue, swapping Marcus Stoinis for one of Moises Henriques and Cameron Green. Barring that, the side will remain the same as they look to seal the series.
Probable XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques/Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Adam Hazlewood.
Despite a heavy defeat in Sydney, the visitors might stick with the same side for the second game of the series. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will need to strike with the new ball as the lack of wickets in the first ten overs have significantly hurt India in recent times. While Yuzvendra Chahal proved a lot expensive, he might still keep his place.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
The pitch remained a perfect batting track on Friday, having produced more than 600 runs. With only a day’s gap between the two games, both sides likely will play on the same strip. It could again result in a high-scoring game.
The weather on Sunday stays slightly on the rainy side. While there is sun more than clouds, the chance of precipitation is 43% as the showers are likely to appear late in the day. The temperature would be of 20 degrees Celcius.
Head to head:
Played – 141
Won by Australia – 79
Won by India – 52
No result – 10
Stats that matter:
112 – Virat Kohli still remains 112 runs adrift of 12000 runs in ODI cricket.
8 – Yuvzendra Chahal is eight wickets away from 100 in ODI cricket.
4 – Steve Smith’s 105 in Sydney was his fourth ODI century against India out of his ten in the format.
India will indeed hit back hard in the second ODI in Sydney and will not take the heavy loss in Sydney lightly. One would expect Virat Kohli to star with the bat after a disappointing end to a promising start on Friday. The prediction is for India to win and level the three-match rubber.