Our prediction is that India will win the opening ODI of the three-match series against Australia at Sydney.
As the series against Australia enters the last leg India and Australia are gearing up 3 ODIs first of which will be played at the SCG on 12th of January 2019. India have not played ODIs against Australia for a while now. The last ODI between these two teams happened in Sep-2017 which was won by India by 26 runs.
The Test series between the two teams lived up to the hype. The build-up was great and execution even better. In the process, India became the first Asian touring team to win a Test series in Australia ever. That is some achievement. It speaks volumes about the progress of Indian cricket and unearths the issues in Cricket Australia. With major frontline bowlers rested after the marathon efforts in the Test series, Australia would do good to challenge the inspired Indian team.
The scoreline of 2-1 in the Test series loss against India does not really highlight the physical and mental disintegration the Australia team have had to suffer for last month or so. Their batsmen failed to grind it out in the middle and the bowlers were made to grind by the Indian batsmen, especially that one man – Cheteshwar Pujara.
After the Marathon efforts with the ball, the trio of Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins is likely to be rested in the ODIs. Mitchell Marsh who is out sick will be replaced by Ashton Turner who plays for Perth Scorchers in the BBL and is known for his finishing skills. Both Lyon and Zampa are available for selection but looks like only one of them will play in the first ODI.
The sixth-ranked Australian team, lowest ever rank for them, already have a lot of off the field issues to resolve before they take on India at the Sydney on Saturday.
AJ Finch (c), JP Behrendorff, AT Carey, PSP Handscomb, UT Khawaja, NM Lyon, SE Marsh, GJ Maxwell, Ashton Turner, JA Richardson, B Stanlake, MP Stoinis, A Zampa/ N Lyon
India finally won a series in Australia. Pujara rose to the occasion. The bowlers did what they were doing all year - getting the opposition out twice. And the fact that India won the series despite no major contributions from Kohli speaks volumes of strides India have taken as a team.
A series win of this magnitude, irrespective of the format, so close to the world cup must be a confidence booster for the Indian team. As they prepare for the ODIs, India will have their ODI specialists in MS Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan back in the squad to make matters worse for the home team.
Top heavy batting lineup, solid middle order, best wicketkeeper in the world, a couple of wrist spinners and seamers who can swing and are good at death makes up for a competitive squad for India as they look to begin their preparations for the World Cup afresh.
V Kohli (c), RG Sharma, KK Ahmed, JJ Bumrah, S Dhawan, MS Dhoni, KM Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami, HH Pandya
The pitch at the SCG has traditionally supported spin bowlers. Since 1st Jan 2000, the teams batting first have won 55% of the matches making this an even pitch for both the innings.
The team winning the toss should opt to Bat first here to use the better batting conditions early to put a daunting score on the board and then should look to defend it in spin friendly conditions.
India, at the 2nd position, are 21 points ahead of Australia who are at the 6th position in the ICC Rankings. This difference generally doesn’t matter when Australia play at home. However, without Smith and Warner in the team and tired frontline bowlers being rested, the combination of the team does not induce any confidence. Add to it the fact that Australia are going through their worst patch in decades and we have a team that can only hope for a miracle, especially, against a top team like India.
Thus, our prediction is that India will dominate Australia in the ODI series opener at the SCG to kick of the three-match ODI series with a win.
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