Two golden boys of cricket -- India's superstar Virat Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith -- will face off at WACA in Perth in the first ODI of the five-match series on Tuesday.
Kohli and Smith have the capability to turn matches on their own, and their wickets will be coveted by the bowlers in this ODI series.
The 27-year-old India Test skipper has notched up 6831 runs in 166 matches, at an average of 50.60 in the 50-over format of the international game. In very little time, Kohli has also scored 23 centuries, and is just two hundreds behind Kumar Sangakkara (25), who is fourth on the all-time list. Only Sanath Jayasuriya (28), Ricky Ponting (30) and the batting legend Sachin Tendulkar (49) are ahead of Sangakkara.
Smith has played fewer matches (64) than Kohli, and while his overall stats are not on par, his current form suggests he is as good, if not better. The Australia captain has scored 1726 runs at an average of 39.22. The 26-year-old right-hander has four ODI centuries to his name, two of which came in 2015. The century that he scored against the tourists in the semifinal of the ICC World Cup 2015, helped Australia end India's title defence. The numbers of Smith in the ODI format may not be great, but his stats were definitely better than that of Kohli's in 2015.
Smith averaged 53.66 compared to Kohli's 36.64 in the last calendar year. Smith scored 805 runs, while Kohli managed 623 runs. Kohli also had two centuries to his name in 2015. One of them came against Pakistan in the ICC World Cup 2015, and the other came towards the end of the year, against South Africa in the sultry conditions of Chennai.
In order to assert their dominance over the Aussies, captain MS Dhoni will want some runs to flow from Kohli's bat, considering India did not win a single one-day international series in 2015. However, other Indian batsmen will also have to step up to the occasion as well, as Kohli alone will not be able to win them matches all the time.
Kohli showed signs of form with the bat during the warm up games against Western Australia XI. If he can manage to bring that momentum into the ODI series, it will do a world of good for the team. Smith, though, is the man in form, and if he continues his run glut against India, the visitors will be in trouble.