What the series against Australia means for India

Saul Bowman
September 18, 2017

From September 17, India and Australia will play a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20 series. Australia will be upbeat after drawing a two-match Test series against Bangladesh. With more boxes ticked than otherwise, India will have few issues to address in the series like the no. 4 slot and the no. 6 slot.

Australia, too, will start without its first-choice opener Aaron Finch, who aggravated an old injury during a training session a couple of days back. Although skipper Kohli stressed that they "would back" a misfiring Rahul, it remains to be seen if he will be part of the starting XI for the series opener.

Manish Pandey, who got the nod ahead of his Karnataka state-mate K.L. Rahul, lasted just two balls. "There'll always be competition for a particular spot". He is proved himself in all formats. Since he opens in the longer format and bats at a reasonably fair clip, the team might be keen on giving him another go to stake his claim. Once he gets his role done, he will start winning us games.

For India, facing an Australian side without their top two pacers - Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, would certainly work to their advantage but at the same time, the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell are seasoned pros for whom India is like a second home. Peter Handscomb has been called on to replace him but Travis Head looks to be the likely partner of Warner. Every bilateral series leading up to a World Cup must be viewed as an exercise for teams to find out things they didn't know already, to try new players and to adopt new strategies. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (32*) also made a handy contribution.


Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile rattled the Indian batting with three quick strikes including the prized scalp of skipper Virat Kohli for nought. The fact that all three have IPL experience should stand them in good stead.

Australia's young leg-spinner, Adam Zampa, becomes the latest victim to face the brunt of India's dynamic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, to join the evergrowing list of spinners he has demolished in the recent past. But Axar suffered an ankle sprain on Friday while playing football in practice and was ruled out for the first three ODIs. Ravindra Jadeja, originally rested from the series, has been drafted as a cover.

Pandya, then, returned with the ball and bagged two of the most important Aussie wickets, that of Steve Smith and Travis Head to cap off a flawless day on the field. Rahane on the other hand has struggled to make the most of the limited opportunities that have come his way, but still managed 342 runs from seven matches at 48.85.

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