"How can we get Steve Smith out?" and "Can we play with two spinners again?" will be a couple of key questions India will look to answer going into the 2nd ODI against Australia in Brisbane on Friday.
Having put in a solid batting performance, India would have fancied their chances against Australia, but a brilliant double century partnership between Smith, who continues to score runs, runs and more runs against the Indians, and George Bailey put paid to those hopes in a hurry.
Australia made a chase of 310 look like a Sunday morning stroll, with the India bowlers failing to gain anything out of an, albeit, placid WACA pitch. The Gabba might give the bowlers a little more purchase – the fast bowlers that is – which means that spin question will come into play.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin were seriously disappointing in the first one-day international, failing to get any sort of purchase out of the wicket, while being so expensive that the match swung in Australia's favour in a hurry. Both Ashwin and Jadeja have struggled to make an impact in overseas conditions before as well, and the ease with which Smith and Bailey played the two spinners will be a matter of concern for Dhoni.
India must go with five bowlers, considering they really do not have a part-timers who can roll their arms over and make-up the job of the fifth bowler – yup, Suresh Raina, you are being missed. That means playing Jadeja or giving Rishi Dhawan an opportunity. Dhawan can wield the willow as well as Jadeja in the final overs, and is handy with the ball. The 25-year-old, though, has not played international cricket before, and trusting him to send down 10 overs, while also contributing with the bat, is a tall ask.
Barinder Sran, however, impressed on his debut, and while Dhoni has said the youngsters coming in from domestic cricket are not international-cricket-ready nowadays, this might be a risk worth taking.
The likely scenario, though, is Dhoni sticking with Jadeja – or maybe even giving an opportunity to the other left-armer Axar Patel – and hoping the all-rounder improves at the Gabba. Jadeja has certainly earned another opportunity after his brilliant show with the ball against South Africa, and maybe he can make that white ball turn just enough to create the doubt in the Aussie batsmen in the 2nd ODI.
Whatever India do with their team, all of it will matter little if they do not find a way to get Smith out early. The Australia skipper plundered runs against India in the Test series and the ODIs that followed last season, with the right-hander picking up from where he left off courtesy the brilliant 149, which won his team the game in the first one-dayer on Tuesday.
If Smith stays at the crease for a considerable period of time, Australia will probably walk away from Brisbane with a 2-0 lead.
2nd ODI schedule: India vs Australia.
Date: Friday, 15 January.
Time: 8.50 am IST (1.20 pm local time, 2.20 pm AEDT, 3.20 am GMT, 10.20 pm ET).
Venue: Gabba in Brisbane.
TV listings: India: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3, and Star Sports HD3. Australia: Channel 9. USA: Willow TV. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport. UK: Sky Sports. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Cricket.