India v Australia: First ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the first of five ODI's between India and Australia.  

A jampacked second half of the year continues for both teams, as India look to build on the limited-overs momentum gained against Sri Lanka recently - and Australia switch to ODI mode after a drawn Test series in Bangladesh this month.

Amid a massive pool of nationwide talent, India have again omitted a couple of stars - and will test their bench strength. Injuries, meanwhile, have seen the Aussies recall a couple of yesteryear's all-rounders for the ODIs - and the T20Is that follow.

India v Australia | Sunday, 17 September | MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai | 10:00

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To Win Match
India 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 5/4

The Indians were entirely dominant over Sri Lanka less than 10 days ago, romping to a clinical five-nil series victory. Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah were largely the destroyers in-chief, with bat and ball respectively, then - and will likely feature in similar sub-continental conditions again.

Kohli has the chance to surpass Ricky Ponting as ODI cricket's second highest centurion, while Bumrah needs to vindicate a sudden rise to fourth position in the ICC's bowler rankings with a performance similar - if not stronger - than he put in against the Sri Lankans. He will have greater support in fellow seamers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, who have been recalled.

Shardul Thakur can feel hard done by after being overlooked, but Hardik Pandya's role with the ball - and Shami and Yadav's returns - necessitated the relative rookie's exit. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin remain out of contention for ODI berths, leaving the spin duties to Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel.

The MA Chidambaram Stadium is by no means a happy hunting ground for India, who have won just five ODIs in a dozen attempts here. They've only played the Aussies in the intermediate form of the international game once at the venue - the hosts lost. The Indians, however, will be buoyed by the fact that their last four ODI outings in Chepauk have resulted in three victories.

While former Australia captain Michael Clarke has publicly insisted Kohli is better than Steven Smith in ODI cricket, the comparison really should have been made between the Indian skipper and David Warner. Kohli and Warner currently occupy positions one and two, respectively, in the ODI batting rankings - and September will yield a fierce battle to retain or seize the helm.

With the Ashes nearing, the Australians are going to be judged for Test match cricket, despite playing in conditions and a format completely different to what they will encounter against England. Their management of Pat Cummins in India will be particularly important, given fellow fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc's ongoing recovery from injury.

Assistant coach David Saker has prematurely stated Cummins will probably play all five ODIs, but the recall of James Faulkner - and selection of Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Stoinis - should balance the workload. Matthew Wade's ability behind the stumps, too, will be under microscopic surveillance by fans and critics alike.

The Aussies have not contested a bilateral ODI series in India since 2013, when they were predictably defeated. They lost in 2010, too, but triumphed across Guwahati and beyond eight years ago. Posting a big total and then successfully restricting the opposition was key in three of the tourists' four wins in the seven-match series in 2009 - and will be vital against an Indian unit who have since all but mastered the art of chasing down large targets.

Verdict: India 67/100
History, homeground advantage, the contrasting composition of both squads and current form pretty much insist India will win the opening ODI - and probably the bulk, if not all, of the remaining four.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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