Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey is the favourite to fill the slot vacated by Suresh RainaReuters

India have a few playing XI points to ponder, as Australia prepare to host MS Dhoni's men in the first of the five-match ODI series.

Australia skipper Steve Smith has already named his XI for the first one-day international at the WACA, with Joel Paris and Scott Boland set to make their ODI debuts. The two pace bowlers have been picked after impressive domestic performances, and it will be interesting to see how the India batsmen negotiate the two fast bowlers.

India's batting is the slight concern going into this first ODI, after the middle order showed their susceptibility again when two of the top three failed with the bat. Manish Pandey might have locked his place in the middle order – the place where Suresh Raina usually bats – after his impressive half-century against Western Australia XI in the one-day practice match.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni and R Ashwin are certainties for the playing XI against Australia in the first ODI, and, most likely, the entire series.

The final middle order batting position will be a battle between Pandey and Gurkeerat Singh Mann, with the former the favourite after his measured knock under difficult circumstances. Dhoni, of course, has the option of playing both and starting with one less bowler, but that is unlikely, with Gurkeerat still not entirely convincing with the ball.

One of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel will play, and with both bowlers doing well in the warm-ups, it might just come down to Jadeja's overall form. The left-armer was India's second best bowler in the Test series against South Africa, albeit in home conditions, and that should tilt the selection in his favour.

The three fast bowlers Dhoni is likely to select will be interesting, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in for the injured Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, nursing a slight finger injury, Umesh Yadav, impressive in Australia last time around, Rishi Dhawan and Barinder Sran the options. Rishi Dhawan and Sran have not played a single ODI yet, making them risky selections, but with Ishant struggling a little with injury and Bhuvneshwar only just flying out to Australia, Dhoni might have little choice.

If Ishant does recover from the problem that prevented him from bowling in the practice matches, he should walk into the squad, even with his far from impressive bowling stats in ODIs, along with Umesh. Sran was impressive with the ball in the T20 practice match against Western Australia, and with all the other bowlers being right-armers, Dhoni might just choose to go with Sran for his left-arm option. Rishi Dhawan, though, can bat as well, and that is something Dhoni and the rest of the India think-tank will consider.

Lineups: Australia (confirmed): David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith (C), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Scott Boland, Joel Paris, Josh Hazlewood.

Players missing out: Shaun Marsh and Kane Richardson.

India (likely): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (C), Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Barinder Sran.

Players missing out: Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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