After the historic victory in the recently concluded Test series, India will take on Australia in the first of three ODIs in Sydney on January 12.
Australian skipper Aaron Finch will lead his side out on Saturday in a throwback kit and will sincerely hope that his side can play like the Australian sides of the yore. The captain's form will be vital for the home side and he is expected to open the batting with either Shaun Marsh or Usman Khawaja.
Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of the first ODI against India due to gastroenteritis and Ashton Turner has been drafted in as a replacement. In the absence of the all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis will be in charge of manning the middle order. The duo will also be responsible for filling up the fifth bowler's slot.
For India, Jasprit Bumrah has been rested in order to manage his workload. With the 2019 cricket World Cup round the corner, this also provides an invaluable opportunity to the likes of Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed to book their tickets to England.
Hardik Pandya also makes a return to the ODI side after an injury layoff and is expected to slot in at number 7. The all-rounder's presence lends balance to the side and will allow captain Virat Kohli to field the spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The return of the white-ball format also sees the return of World Cup-winning captain, MS Dhoni and vice-captain Rohit Sharma believes that the wicketkeeper-batsman is Team India's guiding light.
"He [Dhoni] has captained India for so many years and been successful. So him being around with the team always is helpful. He is like a guiding light around the group," Rohit said.
Rohit himself is returning to Australia after flying back home following the Melbourne Test match to be with his wife as she gave birth to a baby daughter. The "Hitman" had an excellent 2018 and so did his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan. The duo, along with Kohli, forms – arguably – the best top-order in the world.
Australia: Aaron Finch (C), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (WK), Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal
Pitch and Weather Conditions
The pitch at Sydney is expected to be flat and a lot of runs will be on offer. The dryness of the surface in the fourth Test match may help the slower bowlers. But considering both sides have wrist spinners, they will turn the ball regardless of the pitch.
Rain played a massive spoilsport to India's chances at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the final Test match of the recently concluded Test series. But a clear sky is expected on January 12 with a pleasant temperature in the mid-20 degree Celsius range.