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India have begun their preparation on the road to 2019 World Cup and they'll be looking to plug all the loopholes before the mega event starts. After their remarkable Test series win, India once again start as favourites in the limited over format. Australia, on the other hand have quite a few things to take care of. Their batting was already depleted with the stalwarts, Steve Smith and David Warner missing and by resting their premiere fast bowlers, Mitch Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazelwood they'll have a tough assignment against the mighty Indians
The Australians can boast about their ODI record in Australia against India where they have got the better of India on 35 occasions while India returned with only 11 wins. But the recent record paints a different picture as Australia's win percentage in ODIs in 2018 was just over 15%, marking their worst year in ODI cricket ever. The inexperience of the Australian side is also clearly visible as all their batsmen combined have managed to score 20 ODI centuries, 18 less than our skipper, Virat Kohli(38).
The Indian team has a settled squad with all their bases covered and the only thing they'll be focusing on is to consolidate their middle order. The top three comprising of Rohit, Shikhar, and Virat have scored bulk of the runs and the middle order batsmen haven't faced testing conditions. The suspension of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul is a concern as the former brought a lot of balance to the side. His absence will mean that India will have to rejig their line up and one of the two wrist spinners will have to warm the bench to accommodate Ravindra Jadeja.
With Bumrah being rested, the onus is on Bhuvneshwar Kumar to marshall the bowling troop in the company of Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed. Kedar Jadhav will also lend a few overs with his unorthodox bowling action if the need arises. Ambati Rayudu, who's had a fairly consistent run at number 4 will continue with his service on that position but all eyes will be on Dhoni, the batsman. He's not been at his best with the bat off late and he'll certainly want to prove all his critics wrong and gain some confidence before the World Cup.
The player to watch out in the Australian camp is going to be their skipper, Aaron Finch. He has a liking for the Indian bowlers and he averages over 50 against India. His wicket in the innings early on will definitely deflate the confidence of the Australians. There are other batsmen in the set up and who have the ability to turn the match single handedly and India will be very aware of that. We all remember the spirited knock by Marcus Stoinis against New Zealand where he almost pulled off a heist. Glenn Maxwell can be devastating on his day and he is the X-factor of the Australian side.
Even though the Australians cannot be written while playing in their own backyard, India have a clear edge above the host nation going into the ODI series. Catch all the action from the 1st of the three ODIs at the SCG in Sydney, Saturday, 12th January, 7:50 AM IST, 1:30 PM local.