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India vs Australia 1st ODI Preview: "Series to be played in good spirit" - Steve Smith

Fri, 15th, Sep 2017 |
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 A long home season of limited overs cricket looms ahead for Virat and his boys as they welcome the mighty Aussies for 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is. Cut back to February, these two cricketing heavyweights engaged in a closely fought 4 match test series in which India emerged victorious after the aberration in Pune. It would have been interesting to see how Australia acclimatize to the hot & humid climes of Chennai, where the 1st ODI is scheduled to be played at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium. But after they cruised to a 103 run victory over India's Board President's XI in a warm up game at the same venue, they'd be hoping to close that subject. There's all to play in this series as both teams would be looking to wrestle their way to the number 1 spot, currently holding a joint second at 117 rating points. So, a 4-1 victory or a series whitewash in either team's favour will dislodge South Africa from the number one ranking.

Australia have come into the series with India taking confidence from having fought back hard to draw the Test Series against Bangladesh. India, on the other hand are brimming with confidence and will look to extend their unbeaten run in all formats which dates back to early July when they were undone by a spirited Windies in a T20I.  After a controversial and well publicised war of words with India counterpart Virat Kohli, when Australia toured for the Test series back in March, the Australian skipper claims that their approach would be to play in "good spirit" this time around.

Australia are without pace spearheads Mitchell Starc & Josh Hazlewood due to injury. With Aaron Finch ruled out for the first few games, Peter Handscomb, who batted out of his skin in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh, has been named as Finch's cover, as per reports. Australia will look at mainstays Steve Smith, David Warner and Travis Head for inspiration to pull off an upset. The Indian team selectors haven't announced a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan for the first three ODIs, who'd requested leave to look after his unwell wife. It's widely believed that Ajinkya Rahane, who was the highest run-getter when India recently toured West Indies, would partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. With Virat also of the opinion that his fellow RCB teammate K.L. Rahul is a middle order specialist in limited overs cricket and with Kedar Jadhav cementing his spot as a utility man, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Manish Pandey will be rewarded with a place in the final XI on Sunday for his consistent exploits in the domestic circuit. Will India make the mistake to underestimate their opponents? One thing's certain that with Virat at the helm, he'll not be taking anything for granted. 

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