Virat Kohli’s team India will take on Aaron Finch’s Australia in the opening game of the three-match ODI series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on Friday.
India won the ODI series by 2-1 on their previous tour to Australia. The Men in Blue defeated the men in yellow in January this year in the home ODI series by the same margin.
Talking about the hosts first, Aaron Finch’s side looks all set to take their revenge on Kohli’s team for their previous home defeat. The Australian team is bolstered by the return of David Warner, Steve Smith, and the emergence of Marnus Labuschagne as they defeated England in the ODI series in September.
While Warner and Marcus Stoinis had a big IPL season, Labuschagne has hit two hundreds in the domestic tournament before the series. Smith, who had an inconsistent IPL, after one of his net sessions was quoted saying ‘found something and everything just clicked in’- which could be ominous signs for the Indian bowlers.
Glenn Maxwell had a horrible IPL, but he had struck a magnificent hundred in England, and becomes a totally different beast in the home conditions. Alex Carey hit a match-winning ton in the last ODI in England.
In the bowling department, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood found their form towards the end of the IPL. Mitchell Starc has always been a lethal weapon for Australia.
The Indian team will be without the services of regular opener and vice-captain, Rohit Sharma. More than the decision regarding the playing eleven, Kohli and Shastri will have to ponder heavily on the batting position of KL Rahul, who since the start of the year has been playing at number 5 and has huge success in New Zealand- he is also the first-choice wicket-keeper.
Shikhar Dhawan – the second-highest run-scorer of the IPL – and Shreyas Iyer are known to be vulnerable against the short ball at a high pace. This will also be Iyer’s first series in Australia. Hardik was in great batting form in the IPL but isn’t allowed to bowl yet. Jadeja could play as the regular fifth bowler. However, he too didn’t have a good IPL with the ball.
A lot will rely on Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Mohammed Shami- who all are coming from a successful, but long IPL season. A decision has to be made for the third bowler; Kuldeep Yadav, who played just 5 games in the IPL, and only 1 ODI in New Zealand; or youngster Navdeep Saini, who was injured mid-season in IPL; or the experienced Shardul Thakur, who actually had a good outing for CSK.
Australia vs India, 2020: 1st ODI – Match prediction
The major concern for the Indian team is the fifth bowling option and the lack of a sixth one- going in with just five regular bowlers ties down the skipper, and gives flexibility in planning for the Australian team.
While the hosts seem a complete unit, the visitors have to find their competitive, if not perfect eleven. On paper, comparing man to man, the Aussie batting looks more formidable than the Indian batting. The prediction is for Australia to kick start the series with a victory.