After tourwashing Sri Lanka last month, Virat Kohli's Team India will face a stiffer challenge when they take on world champions Australia in the first of the five-match ODI series, starting Sunday, September 17 in Chennai.
Kohli's primary agenda will be to start the series on a positive note, thereby end India's Australian jinx at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Notably, the Men in Yellow have not yet been beaten (4 wins in as many matches) at the iconic venue, which had been waiting for ODI cricket for almost two years.
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Valiant Australia will fight hard
However, Steve Smith's men have shown in the past they are ready to take the bull by the horns. The way they stunned India in Pune earlier this year to take a 1-0 lead in the Test series (before going down 2-1) shows Australia are not going to buckle under pressure.
The onus to help Australia begin well falls on David Warner and skipper Smith, both of whom are clued in on the Indian conditions, thanks to their Indian Premier League stints.
Middle order woes
Australia's middle order though looks weak with Travis Head, Matthew Wade and the inconsistent Glenn Maxwell. On the other hand, the presence of Ashton Agar and Marcus Stoinis adds depth to the batting line-up.
Agar, Zampa key for visitors
Apart from Aaron Finch, Australia will also miss their star pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood due to injuries. Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile will lead the pace attack. Agar and Adam Zampa along with part-time spinner Maxwell and Head will also be key to Australia's chances on Sunday.
On the other hand, India will miss Shikhar Dhawan, who is unavailable for the first three ODIs. Ajinkya Rahane, as vice-captain Rohit Sharma hinted, is expected to take his spot.
Kohli has the tough job of choosing between KL Rahul and Manish Pandey for the number four spot as both Karnataka batsmen have proved their worth in the past.
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya have to play key roles as India would want to score big and box the visitors out of the contest.
Wrist-spinners to dominate
While Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to keep their places in the XI, Ravindra Jadeja's late inclusion as a replacement to injured Axar Patel will give Kohli selection headaches.
While senior man Jadeja has a wealth of experience of playing in Chennai, wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been impressive in the limited-overs format for the team.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The first ODI in Chennai will begin at 1:30 pm IST, 7 pm AEDT.
Live streaming and TV listings
India: TV: Star Sports. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
Australia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Foxtel.
UK: TV: Sky Sports Cricket. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports.
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.
Check out complete squads
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
Squad: David Warner, Steven Smith (captain), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Peter Handscomb