India vs Australia, 1st ODI: India resume blockbuster Australia rivalry in return to international cricket
February 11, 2020. That’s how long it’s been since India’s last ODI. Even longer since India’s last international match. That’s nearly 10 months, probably the longest Indian cricket has gone by without cricket. And now that international cricket is gradually beginning to embrace the post Covid-19 normal, what better way for Indian cricket to resume itself than rekindle its biggest rivalry.
Over the years, as the quality of India vs Pakistan matches have dipped, there seem to have emerged a new, more intense, more fierce rivalry in India vs Australia. Several factors make this contest watch-worthy. Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith, KL Rahul vs David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah vs Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins vs Shikhar Dhawan – the individual battles are as starry as they come.
Unlike India, this is will be Australia’s third limited-overs series post the Covid-19 sabbatical. They won the three ODI series in England before embarking upon the IPL. India, on the other hand, straightaway headed to the UAE, their ring rush visible in the first few games. But as time and the tournament progressed, the bowlers began finding their lines, length and the batsmen started timing the ball and brining up big scores. KL Rahul took home the Orange Cap with 670 runs, while Dhawan wasn’t far behind with 618. Among bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal finished with 27 and 21 wickets respectively. A fine way to warm up.
And as the Sydney Cricket Ground gears up to host the first of the three ODIs, the series makes for a blockbuster opening. There’s Shubman Gill, for whom this series could be the opportunity of a lifetime. The same holds true of uncapped Aussie Cameron Green. SCG is set for a cracker. Are you?
What: India vs Australia, 1st ODI
When: Friday, November 27, 2020
Time: 9:10 AM IST
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
The biggest question heading into the first ODI is KL Rahul’s batting position. The India batsman, who’s taken over the wicketkeeping role since earlier this year, said he is happy to don any role but it is likely that India will persist with Rahul in the middle-order for stability. The likes of Gill, Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson are likely to sit out, with in-form Mayank Agarwal and Dhawan set to open. All eyes will be on Hardik Pandya who last played an international match in September of 2019. The pace department picks itself, with Ravindra Jadeja and Chahal expected to be the two spinners.
Probable XI: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 KL Rahul (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
While there is always the option of playing an extra all-rounder in Mitchell Marsh, along with Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, Australia head coach Justin Langer indicated that they will go with Steve Smith instead of the injured Marsh. The addition of Stoinis bolsters an already strong bowling line up comprising Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa.
Probable XI: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Alex Carey, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Adam Zampa
Stats and Trivia
- The last time India won at SCG in 2016 by completing a successful chase of 331. India has won only 5 out of 20 ODIs at SCG
- Virat Kohli is 133 runs away from completing 12,000 runs in ODIs
- Aaron Finch is 17 runs away from completing 5,000 runs in ODIs
- Steve Smith is 93 runs short of completing 1,000 runs against India in ODIs
- Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja are 1 & 2 wickets respectively away from completing 100 ODI wickets
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