India vs Australia: Five key player battles that could decide the series | india-vs-australia-2017 | Hindustan Times
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India vs Australia: Five key player battles that could decide the series

India take on Australia in the first of five one-day internationals on Sunday. Here, Hindustan Times takes a look at the players who will be key to success for their respective teams.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 17, 2017 11:38 IST
Devarchit Varma
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri during a practice session at MAC Stadium on the eve of the first ODI match against Australia, in Chennai on Saturday.
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri during a practice session at MAC Stadium on the eve of the first ODI match against Australia, in Chennai on Saturday. (PTI)

India and Australia will enter a five-match ODI series starting Sunday at Chennai with an eye on the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings.

Here, Hindustan Times takes a look at the players who will be key to success for their respective teams.

Virat Kohli v Steven Smith

The battle of the captains promises to be the most interesting one during the series. (HT Photo)

Virat Kohli is averaging a staggering 92.45 after 18 ODIs this year, and the Steve Smith-led Australia faces a monumental task against the India captain.

Steve Smith will have to get into the same mode that he was in the Test series in order to stop the Indian juggernaut.

Rohit Sharma v David Warner

Both Rohit Sharma and David Warner (HT Photo)

Rohit Sharma is averaging over 75 in ODIs this year, and the series presents him an opportunity to improve further.

David Warner is coming off a successful Bangladesh tour with two fabulous hundreds, and the onus will be on him to provide brisk starts in absence of Aaron Finch.

Manish Pandey v Travis Head

Manish Pandey and Travis Head will look to give their respective batting line-ups stability in the middle. (HT Photo)

It is a battle between players aiming to cement their spots. While Manish Pandey has shown promise and credibility at No 4 at a time when India are still weighing options, Australia have tried several batsmen unsuccessfully so far.

Either of Travis Head or Peter Handscomb will now be tested in the middle-order at No 4. Head may enjoy favour from selectors ahead of Handscomb with his spin bowling skills.

Hardik Pandya v Glenn Maxwell

Hardik Pandya and Glen Maxwell will look to provide explosive hitting whilst chipping in with wickets. (HT Photo)

Both Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell are aggressive stroke-players, and have shown decent form in recent matches.

As far as their bowling is concerned, the medium pace of Hardik Pandya might be a better wicket-taking option than the off-spinners of Glenn Maxwell, who has not bowled a great deal in ODIs lately.

Umesh Yadav v Pat Cummins

Umesh Yadav and Pat Cummins will look to trouble batsmen with explosive pace and a hunger for wickets. (HT Photo)

Umesh Yadav and Pat Cummins can change the course of games with early breakthroughs. Umesh Yadav, who is coming off a break, has been a consistent performer for India in this format.

On the other hand, Pat Cummins would aim to make most of the absence of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and cement his place in the side.