For the first time since being pumped by England in the World Cup semi-finals, Australia return to ODI cricket as they begin plotting their path for the next three-and-a-half years. India are both the hosts in 2023 and where Australia’s rejuvenation as a one-day side kicked into gear last year as they made a late sprint to be World Cup contenders with a memorable come-from-behind 3-2 series victory.
While some senior figures have been retained there is a fresh feel, particularly in the batting, with Peter Handscomb and Ashton Turner – both of whom starred on the last India tour before being squeezed out of the World Cup – back in the mix alongside the uncapped Marnus Labuschagne, who will be looking to transfer his stunning Test form into the one-day arena.
The ‘big three’ of the Test attack – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood – are also back together while there has been an interesting decision to move away from a number of allrounders for a variety of reasons: Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh are currently lighting up the BBL.
The next World Cup is a long time away so a lot can change – and probably will – between now and then (captain Aaron Finch will be 36 by then) but there are the staging posts of two T20 World Cups and it will be interesting to see how closely Australia bring their two limited-overs sides.
As ever, India bring a fearsome ODI top three with their main questions lower down the order around the balance of the side, which was an issue during the World Cup. Hardik Pandya remains sidelined by injury and there continues to be a juggle for spots in the middle order with Kedar Jadhav being persisted with and Shivam Dube given his debut against West Indies.
(last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
Jasprit Bumrah is set to play his first ODI since the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand after recovering from a stress fracture of his back. He has eased back into action in the T20I series against Sri Lanka and this will be another step up ahead of the all-formats tour of New Zealand. In 11 ODIs against Australia, Bumrah’s average (29.82) and economy rate (5.07) are the second-highest of his career although it remains a very fine record.
Josh Hazlewood did not hide his disappointment at missing the World Cup after the selectors opted to save him for the Ashes following the stress fracture he sustained early last year. Now, having returned from a hamstring injury picked up against New Zealand in Perth, he has the chance to resume his ODI career – during which he was ranked the No. 1 bowler in 2017 – and form a strong pace attack in a country where he has never played a one-dayer
India could now play all three of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli said on Monday. If they want to retain Ravindra Jadeja as the fifth bowling option at No. 7 and Kedar Jadhav as the sixth at No. 6, they might have to leave out Rishabh Pant and give Rahul the keeping gloves. With Jasprit Bumrah back in the ODI side, they may have to leave one out of Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini, if they want Shardul Thakur’s batting contribution from No. 8.
India (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul (wk), 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami/Navdeep Saini, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Steven Smith will return to No. 3, which opens the possibility of a debut for Labsuchagne at No. 4. The interesting decision is how Australia balance the side with Ashton Agar a candidate for the role at No. 7 to give five bowling options although it will lengthen the lower order.
Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Adam Zampa
Pitch and conditions
It was unusually overcast in Mumbai on Monday morning before the sun shone through, and the ground staff kept refreshing the pitch with an occasional sprinkle of water. It had a thin layer of grass, and with dew likely to kick in in the evening, teams will be tempted to bowl first. Expect another high-scoring game in Mumbai, with memories still fresh of India scoring 240 in a T20I against West Indies last month.
Stats and Trivia
David Warner needs 10 runs to reach 5000 in ODIs – he has plenty of innings in hand to become the fastest Australian to the landmark. Dean Jones did it in 128 innings, Warner has currently batted in 114
Pat Cummins needs four wickets for 100 in ODIs; the last time he, Starc and Hazlewood played an ODI together was November 2018
Kuldeep Yadav needs one wicket to reach 100 in ODIs
“I think we, along with Australia, are probably the top two sides in the world, as far as the balance is concerned. Whether it’s (the series) relevant or irrelevant, that’s for people to decide. But we as a team are excited to play Australia, in our conditions, to test ourselves against the best.”
Virat Kohli on playing against Australia, who won their last ODI series in India 3-2
“Part of the recipe for success we had here last time was being able to come up with the solution to combat the world-class spinners that India do have and no doubt their spinners will bowl a lot of overs through the middle overs of these one-day games and a lot of times in a lot of games that’s where the game is won or lost.”
Australia batsman Ashton Turner