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ICC Cricket World Cup Super League in focus as India, Australia begin ODI series

AUS v IND, 1st ODI, preview

Hit For Six!

India begin their ICC Cricket World Cup Super League campaign as they resume international cricket with the ODI series against Australia. The first two games of the ODI series will be held in Sydney with the action shifting to Canberra for the final game.


Australia vs India, 1st ODI
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Friday, 27 November, 02.40pm local time, 03.40am GMT

India last played ODI cricket earlier this year in New Zealand, where they lost all three matches. They have a few selection queries facing them, most notably at the top of the batting order.
In the absence of an unfit Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan’s opening partner will have to be identified from KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill.

Rahul might also continue to bat in the middle-order and double up as wicket-keeper, as he has been doing in the last few ODIs for India.

India also have a conundrum around their fifth bowler. Hardik Pandya, who did not bowl in the recently concluded season of the IPL, is being monitored after a back surgery last year. If he doesn’t bowl, India might have to slot Ravindra Jadeja in at no.7 with Hardik competing with the top 6 batters for a place in the side.

If Jadeja plays, there will likely be room for only one of the two other spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Chahal, on the back of his recent ODI and IPL performances, is likely to get the nod.

Australia, too, have a few decisions to make. Mitchell Marsh is out injured leaving an all-rounder’s slot empty in the middle-order. Marcus Stoinis could move back down the order, although his last appearance was in the top three, with Steven Smith missing their previous series against England due to concussion.

Cameron Green could also be in line for a debut, but his stress fracture history means that his bowling will be closely monitored. Australia also have six pacers in the squad. The incumbent trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are expected to start.

Remember the last time

Earlier this year, the two sides played an ODI series in India which the hosts won 2-1. Smith was in fine form in that series, topping the run charts with 229 runs including a hundred and a fifty. Australia won the first game of the series by a whopping 10 wickets after David Warner and Aaron Finch scored hundreds in a 256-run chase. However, India went on to win the remaining two matches to seal the series.

What they said:

Steven Smith (Australia batsman): "I was pretty disappointed actually with my batting throughout the IPL. I never really got into a good rhythm, but I think the last few days actually I've found something. People close to me that know me well, I've found my hands the last few days, which I'm extremely excited about.”

KL Rahul (India batsman): "It [wicket-keeping] was challenging and it was new, but I think I got used to it [during IPL] and I started enjoying it. And hopefully, it will continue the same way here.”

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