The Indian cricket team will look to begin their 3-match ODI series against Australia on a high when the two sides lock horns at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground. This series will be another opportunity for Virat Kohli and the Indian team management to further solidify their choices for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England. The Australians on the other hand will have to leave behind the disappointment of losing the Test series and come out with renewed hope and vigour.
Here are five key player battles to look out for in the match
1) Rohit Sharma vs Jason Behrendorff
Jason Behrendorff was off to a flying start in his international career as he picked up 4 wickets for in his second T20 international as he ripped the heart out of India’s top order in Guwahati. But an unfortunate injury ensured the left-arm paceman did not make his ODI debut soon. Named in Australia’s playing XI for the first ODI, Behrendorff would love to make an impact in the 50-over format too and he will be pitted against opener Rohit Sharma, who has had problems in the past against left-arm seamers. Behrendorff has already dismissed Rohit twice in T20Is and the Indian vice-captain will have to be careful against a bowler who both bring the ball in and take it out while bowling to a right hand batsman.
2) Shikhar Dhawan vs Peter Siddle
The vastly experienced Peter Siddle has not had a great ODI career and he will look to make amends to that in a World Cup year. Siddle’s ability to extract movement out of the pitch and bowl in the uncomfortable zone could see him trouble the southpaw Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan has been in great form in white ball cricket and he will have to take the battle to the Aussies at the top of the order.
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3) Virat Kohli vs Nathan Lyon
The Indian captain is the best batsman in the world in the 50-over format by a mile and he would want to start his year in the format on a high. Nathan Lyon on the other hand has not had a prolonged career in ODIs despite being Australia’s top spinner in Test cricket. With the hosts looking to try out new combinations it will be a great opportunity for the off spinner to look to seal his place in the limited overs squad. Lyon has dismissed Kohli 7 times in the longest format and that could play in the minds of the two players when they meet again in the middle, this time in coloured clothes.
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4) Bhuvneshwar vs Aaron Finch
Bhuvneshwar Kumar watched the other Indian pacers rule the roost in the Test matches from the dressing room and he will be desperate to get a go in the ODIs. Bhuvneshwar along with Jasprit Bumrah has formed a lethal partnership in ODIs and with the later rested from the series, Bhuvi will have to step it up. His battle with Australian captain Aaron Finch at the top of the order could be a key one. Finch loves to play his shots and Bhuvneshwar preys on batsmen who are flashy outside the off stump. This is a blockbuster duel.
5) Kuldeep Yadav vs Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell is one of Australia’s best players of spin in ODI cricket, but his penchant for the jugular against tweakers has often led to his downfall in the past. Maxwell was severe on Kuldeep Yadav in the ODI series played in India in 2017 and the left arm wrist spinner will look to avenge it. Kuldeep has been rising in the Indian ranks since making his debut and his battle with Maxwell in the middle order could be a crucial one.
First Published: Jan 11, 2019 14:16 IST
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