Australia’s controversial and much anticipated ODI series against India begins on Tuesday evening, just ten months after the Aussies completed an incredible comeback to defeat India after trailing 2-0 in the five match series. It was the first time Australia had beaten India in an ODI series in India, in ten years. Usman Khawaja (383 runs) and Peter Handscomb (236 runs) led the way for Australia with the bat, whilst Pat Cummins (14 wickets) and Adam Zampa (11 wickets) were the star performers with the ball. Australia have picked a squad with more of a focus on the future as a new cycle towards the World Cup begins as Steve Smith and David Warner feature in Australian colours on Indian soil for the first time since their one year bans. Marnus Labuschagne will make his ODI debut in the first game of the series. India come into the series after a 2-1 ODI series victory against the West Indies where they put up massive scores of 5/387 and 6/316 (in 48.4 overs) in their two wins. Rohit Sharma led the way with 285 runs in the series at an average of 86. Virat Kohli had a quiet series scoring just 86 runs at an average of 29 and if Australia can limit Kohli’s production, they will go a long way to winning this series.
India Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), K. L. Rahul, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav
Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Tue Jan 14, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, 7:00pm (AEDT)
Virat Kohli has been a dominant force against Australia in one day cricket across his career, Kohli has 1727 runs at an average 53.97, including eight centuries and six half centuries. Kohli was spectacular against Australia in March last year, scoring 310 runs at an average of 62. Wankhede Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Kohli as well, he has 249 runs at an average of 83. Virat will be eager to send a statement after a poor series with the bat against the West Indies, and there’s no team Virat loves beating more then Australia. Expect Kohli to come out firing against Australia and put up a big score. Look no further than Virat Kohli to be India’s leading run scorer, at $2.85 with BetEasy.
Kuldeep Yadav tore through the Aussies in the ODI series in India last year picking up ten wickets with an impressive economy rate of 6.04 and was a huge reason as to why India held a 2-0 lead in the series. Overall Yadav has an impressive stat line against Australia in his young career so far with 19 wickets, the second most wickets he has taken against any nation. Australia has struggled against left arm chinaman bowling in the past and on pitches that will have plenty of turn, Yadav will like his chances against a batting line up that hasn’t been tested against quality bowling for quite some time. At $3.75 with BetEasy, Yadav is an excellent choice to be India’s leading wicket taker.
Aaron Finch played an important role in Australia’s comeback win in India last year, with a crucial 93 in third match which swung the momentum in the series towards Australia. Finch then put together a quality World Cup campaign scoring 507 runs at an average of 50.70. India is Finch’s second most productive opponent in terms of runs made with 1049 runs at an average of 41.96. At the top of the order, Finch will get a great opportunity to set the tone against India’s fast bowling attack. Finch has improved as a player since taking over the ODI captaincy and expect him to put in a big performance in the series opener. At $4.50 with BetEasy, Aaron Finch provides good value to be Australia’s leading run scorer.
Adam Zampa has been in red hot form in white ball cricket in the past 24 months, which included an incredible performance in the 3-2 series victory against India last year. Zampa took 11 wickets at an average of 25.81 with an economy rate of 5.68. Zampa has taken more wickets against India than any other nation he has played against and matches up well with Virat Kohli. Zampa dismissed Kohli twice in the last ODI series against India and only Jye Richardson has dismissed Virat Kohli more times for Australia in ODI cricket. Australia will be relying on Zampa heavily through the middle overs to produce for the Aussies, expect Zampa to continue his excellent white ball cricket in conditions that he has had plenty of success in. At $5.50 with BetEasy, Zampa provides great value to be Australia’s leading wicket taker.
This is going to be an incredible series as Australia faces its first genuine challenge since the World Cup. Australia will be full of confidence after the 3-2 series victory last year in India as well as a 5-0 thrashing of Pakistan in subcontinental conditions last year. India have thrashed every team that has come to India this season and will too face its first big test in quite some time. Virat Kohli is obviously the key for India, if he gets going India are going to be tough to beat. Steve Smith and David Warner will face a big challenge in their first trip to India in Australian colours since ‘sandpaper gate’.
Australia have only played three One Day Internationals at Wankhede Stadium with their last game in Mumbai occurring back in 2007, Australia does hold a 2-1 head to head advantage at Wankhede Stadium. Due to Australia’s busy schedule they haven’t played a practice match in the lead up to the series and that is a massive concern, given the contrast of conditions that they will face at the Wankhede Stadium compared to the pitches they’ve played on in Australia over the past few months. Given India’s form with the bat leading into this match and Australia’s lack of preparation India will be too strong in the first game of the series, however this series is going to be a thriller.
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