They are not the Australia of the previous year. When they landed eleven months ago in India, they were still missing two of their key players, Aaron Finch was struggling for runs, and the squad being low in confidence. Apart from this, the men in yellow also suffered a series loss to India a month ago, and their World Cup preparations were in tatters. However, the tourists still managed to effect a series loss on India to win the series by 3-2 after trailing by 0-2.
And this time Australia arrive with a full-strength side, possessing the likes of Steven Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood. Plus, their peers in Marnus Labuschagne, Peter Handscomb, Pat Cummins, and Adam Zampa are equally capable of producing top-class performances. This squad gives them realistic hope of creating a reprise of the previous year.
The hosts, on the other side, would start as favourites, despite their series loss last year. India will give Australia plenty to worry about, if not inflicting fear. The men in blue are not only tough to beat at home, but the likes of Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah will mark their return for this series. A formidable pace attack combined with a stellar top three bodes well for India for the upcoming series.
Date and venue: January 14th, 2020, 1:30 pm, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
The men in blue face a tough task of squeezing in any one opener amongst Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul. Although Virat Kohli has indicated that he may include all three openers. It seems unlikely since that leaves Virat Kohli to bat at number four which might work against him.
The return of Jasprit Bumrah means that Navdeep Saini is likely to miss out on the playing eleven. It would also be interesting to see whether India prefer playing Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav along with Ravindra Jadeja. The latter is likely to get the nod.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
The tourists face a conundrum of whether to include Peter Handscomb and Marnus Labuschagne to bat at number four. The pace department looks settled with the big three in Tests, namely Cummins, Hazlewood, and Starc reuniting to trouble the Indian batsmen.
Predicted XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (C), Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey (WK), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
The weather was overcast in Mumbai on Monday morning before the sun shone through. However, there is no forecast of showers on the match day.
It goes without saying that the pitch in Wankhede Stadium is best known for the dew pitching in later in the day. It is for this reason the Australian bowlers practised with wet balls. The team winning the toss would want to field first.
Head to Head:
Played – 137
Australia won – 77
India won – 50
No result – 10
Stats that matter:
Rohit Sharma needs 56 runs to reach 9000 runs in ODI cricket.
David Warner requires 10 runs to breach past a tally of 5000 ODI runs.
Among the current crop of players, Rohit Sharma holds the record for most runs in India-Australia ODIs with 2037 runs in 37 matches.
Kuldeep Yadav needs one wicket to reach 100 wickets in One-day international cricket.
It’s tough to choose between these two sides. India and Australia both have a star-studded line-up, capable of producing sparkling performances out of nowhere. Considering the home advantage, India can be expected to squeeze through to take a 1-0 lead.