Australia vs India, 1st ODI, Preview: Hosts hope to revive their fortunes in retro look

Peter Siddle is set to make his comeback in ODIs after eight years.

India
India. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

After a controversial and lacklustre 2018, Australia will be looking to start the new year on a high in the limited-overs format. Rain saved them from losing the Sydney Test and the same venue is playing the host for the first of the three-match ODI series. India, on the other hand, are plagued with an off-field controversy which has left them unsure about KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya’s availability who might face suspensions for their comments on a talk show.

If solely cricket is kept in focus, the visitors are in the best possible space. They are the number two ranked side in the world and only need to fine-tune a few things ahead of the World Cup. Their ODI specialists like MS Dhoni, Khaleel Ahmed and Ambati Rayudu are in serious need of some game time and the next 13 games will witness how they shape up before the mega-event. Though one can argue that there is Indian Premier League to follow as well and it will prove valuable for them unless injuries haunt the team.

Aaron Finch was hopeful of starting the year on a high in the pre-match presser and the Men in Yellow are still unsure about their group for World Cup. However, they will be concentrating on this series first after suffering a defeat against South Africa to start the home summer. They have made wholesale changes to their line-up with Peter Siddle making a comeback after almost eight years and it will be interesting if that changes the home side’s fate. The retro look to their jerseys will also inspire them to perform well.

Team Combinations

Australia

Australia have already announced their playing XI for the first ODI and Alex Carey will be opening the innings for the first time in the format along with Aaron Finch. Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh will follow next while Peter Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis will bat at five and six. Surprsingly, Glenn Maxwell will bat at as low as seven and will also provide the part-time spin-bowling option.

Siddle makes a comeback in the bowling department and will be assisted by Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff. Nathan Lyon is the lead spinner even as Adam Zampa has missed out.

Playing XI: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk) Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff.

India

India are unsure about their playing XI though at the moment as they are awaiting BCCI’s decision over Rahul and Pandya. However, that doesn’t change their batting line-up with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opening the innings and Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu following them. MS Dhoni should most probably bat at five while Kedar Jadhav and either Pandya or Ravindra Jadeja will follow them.

Australia will be relieved that they won’t have to face Jasprit Bumrah in the ODIs while Bhuneshwar Kumar will be in the action for the first time since the T20I series. Kuldeep Yadav is a certain starter at the moment and Yuzvendra Chahal hasn’t been preferred whenever Jadeja has played in the team. Khaleel Ahmed will definitely play while one of Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami will make it to the final XI.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja/Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj/Mohammed Shami.

Focus will be on

Shaun Marsh (Australia)

Shaun Marsh is rated highly for a long time now but hasn’t delivered consistently yet. After being axed from the Test side, all the eyes will be on him now as he looks in the plans for World Cup in Australia’s struggling middle-order. He is also in decent form in the format unlike in Tests where he scored only a solitary half-century in seven outings. Marsh will be under a lot of pressure as his international career is on the line now.

MS Dhoni (India)

Very rarely this man isn’t in focus. But this time there is a special reason. He hasn” played any competitive cricket since the ODIs against the Windies in October last year. With his indifferent form extending throughout the 2018, Dhoni will be under pressure to shine with the willow. His wicket-keeping skills are seldom doubted and his batting position will also be debated. With only 13 ODIs to go before the World Cup, India will love to see their talismanic cricketer hit form in this series and shut down the debate of him to be axed.

Head to Head

Matches – 128 | Australia won – 73 | India won – 45 | NR – 10

In Australia

Matches – 48 | Australia won – 35 | India won – 11 | NR – 2

Stat Attack

613 – Rohit Sharma has amassed 613 runs as an opener against Australia in Australia in seven ODI innings. His scores while opening are: 38, 34, 171*, 124, 6, 41, 99.

325 – Virat Kohli has scored a total of 325 runs in the first ODI in 2016,2017 and 2018. His three scores read: 91, 122 and 112.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD

Live Streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 7:50 IST; 13:20 local

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