India embark on their second tour to Australia in one year and it begins a very important three months for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team. Australia, who are without their key players who helped them win the World Cup, will not be taking India lightly in the first ODI at Perth. Catch all the live scores and updates here (SCORECARD | NEWS | PHOTOS | VIDEOS)
India’s poor form in 2015 in ODIs started in Australia. They were eliminated in the first round of the Carlton Mid Tri-series, lost in the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup to Australia, lost a bilateral series to Bangladesh and also at home to South Africa. One year later, they are back in Australia and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have an important three months ahead of him.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India Aim for Redemption
India have won only 10 ODIs in Australia in the last 35 years. They have not won an ODI against Australia in Perth for the last 25 years. This series gives Dhoni the last chance to go out on a bang Down Under. (Dhoni Chases Sachin’s Record)
The performances of the team so far on this tour has been encouraging. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli came good in the Twenty20 match against Western Australia while Rohit Sharma and Manish Pandey came good in the one-day match. In both the matches though, the bowlers put up a decent performance, presenting Dhoni a problem of plenty.
However, in the pre-match press conference, Dhoni stated that due to the absence of Mohammed Shami, who has flown back home due to a hamstring injury and the lack of a bowling allrounder, he has no choice but to play three pace bowlers and two spinners. This means that Dhoni might not want to tinker too much with the team combination. (Can India’s Pacxe Battery Fire vs Australia?)
Left-arm pace bowlers have had a history of success in the WACA. This might prompt Dhoni to give Punjab left-arm pacer Barinder Sran a debut. Speaking in the pre-match press conference, the limited overs skipper remarked that he would probably be giving rookies a chance as the series goes on. Speaking to NDTV, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar remarked that it was important for India to start off on a good note in Australia and added that the absence of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson will be a boost to India.
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Inexperienced Australia Aim for Solid Performance
Australia are vulnerable heading into the contest. The bowling lacks experience, due to the absence of Johnson (retirement) and Starc (injury). Joel Paris, the young left-arm pace bowler from Western Australia and Scott Boland, the Victorian pace bowler, will make their debuts in Perth.
However, the batting looks in good shape with Aaron Finch and David Warner at the top. Steven Smith, India’s chief destroyer last season, is in great form heading into the series while the likes of Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Mitchell Marsh make the lower-middle order potent. In this series, it is going to be the battle between India’s batsmen and Australia’s batsmen.
Smith has remarked that Australia will not take India lightly. This team has firepower in the batting with question marks on their bowling. Both teams are evenly matched, but the pressure will be slightly more on Australia.