India vs Australia 2020-21, 1st ODI preview: Virat Kohli and Co. ready to draw first blood
India will face off against Australia, Down Under, as they kick things off with the ODIs on Friday. India are the defending champions of the ODIs, having won it during their last visit to Australia, in 2018-19. Meanwhile, India would miss out on services of opener Rohit Sharma.
In what could be considered the greatest possible return of international cricket for India, they get to lock horns against the mighty Australians in the opening One-Day International (ODI), in Sydney, on Friday. It would be the first international encounter for Team India in the prevailing pandemic era.
India's last ODI series was back in February when the faced off against New Zealand in the trans-Tasman country, which India lost 0-3. Currently ranked second in the ODIs, India would look to come up with formidable performance, while the Aussies, who are ranked fourth, eye the third spot. Meanwhile, here we present the match preview.
Current form: As said above, India are coming off a severe loss against New Zealand in their last ODI series. Although India were all set to take on South Africa at home, the pandemic played a spoilsport. Meanwhile, conditions in Australia would not be entirely different from New Zealand. However, with more pace and bounce, Indians once again have a task at hand. Meanwhile, Australia are coming off a 2-1 ODI series win in England.
Squad composition: As for the squads, India have a relatively balanced team in all departments. However, the void left behind by Rohit Sharma would be tough to fill, as KL Rahul is looking to sep up. Meanwhile, Australia are moving in with a bowling-heavy squad, as the team bolsters medium pacers. Clearly, India would have to scratch hard for a win here.
Head-to-head: Taking into considerations their head-on clashes, Australia have traditionally maintained a healthy lead, as in 140 matches, the hosts have won 78, while India have won 52. In Australia, off 51 games, Australia have won 36, while India have 13 wins in their bag. As for in Sydney, there have been 17 matches, with Australia winning 14 and India winning just a couple.
Weather and pitch conditions: The temperature in Syndey is likely to be around 24 degrees, with a 69% chance of humidity. As for the pitch, it is somewhat spin-friendly. However, with most of the Australian pitches supporting pacers, it would have something for the fast bowlers too. Overall, it has traditionally suited the batsmen. Any score within the range of 200-250 will be competitive.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Adam Zampa.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah.
Batsmen: Smith, Warner (c) and Kohli (vc)- Warner is in an explosive form, giving the side the right start, also making him the skipper, while Smith and Kohli are sure to dominate the top-order. Kohli's reliability makes him the vice-captain.
Wicketkeeper: Rahul- The department would consist only Rahul, who is the man in form, while his job behind the stumps is excellent, as of now. He can be the perfect opening partner for Warner, too.
All-rounders: Stonis and Jadeja- Stoinis has been in severe form, as was evident in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), making him a no-brainer here, while Jadeja is as reliable as ever, in all departments.
Bowlers: Cummins, Starc, Chahal, Bumrah and Shami- Chahal is the man in form with his leg-spin. Among the pacers, Cummins and Bumrah would dominate with their pace, while Starc and Shami are likely to trouble the batsmen with their swing.
Players to watch out
Rahul: The man has been in tremendous batting form and can provide the start as an opener. Also, being the new vice-captain and filling in the shoes of Rohit, he has a task at hand.
Bumrah: The number one ODI pacer would be looking to terrorise the Aussie batsman in a territory, where he would just love to bowl.
Starc: Undoubtedly, Australia's number one seam bowler now, he can trouble the batsmen with his natural seam movement, as the Australians would be relying on him heavily.
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Time: 9:10 AM IST
Where to watch (TV): Sony Six, Ten 1 and Ten 3 (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Sony LIV