India eye tri-series turnaround in 1st ODI vs Aus
With a win finally under their belt in what has been a highly disappointing tour, India will aim to carry the Twenty20 momentum into the One-dayers when they take on Australia in the first match of the tri-series starting in Melbourne on Saturday.
After a 0-4 thrashing in the Tests and a loss in the first T20 against Australia, India tasted victory in the second T20, winning by eight wickets on Friday.
The beleaguered Indians have been revitalised by the arrival of young players such as Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Rahul Sharma.
The effort on the field was markedly improved and the Indians will be hoping that the shift in the momentum continues in the ODIs as well.
Image: Indian players celebrate
Tendulkar returns to ODI team in attempt to get 100th ton
The team will have its share of seniors as well with veteran Sachin Tendulkar's return to the fold.
Tendulkar, still on the threshold of his 100th international century, has put his hands up for the tri-series in order to cross the milestone.
The maestro has faced unprecedented pressure in the last one year during which he played 11 Tests and 21 innings but still wasn't able to cross the line.
There were two scores in the 90s and one in 80s but Tendulkar could not go the whole hog and found a way to eject himself out from the middle.
Now the iconic player is available for selection and it means either Ravichandran Ashwin or promising leg-spinner Rahul Sharma would have to watch the proceedings from the sidelines at the MCG.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Ashwin, Rahul were excellent in T20s
Both Ashwin and Sharma were excellent in the first two Twenty20 matches though the latter appeared to have done marginally better than his more experienced spin partner.
Ashwin claimed one wicket at an economy rate of 7.12 while Sharma had three wickets at an economy of 7.63.
Ashwin is a better bat than Sharma with a Test century under his belt but Sharma showed a very large heart by bowling with a heavily bandaged bowling hand -- the result of a split webbing -- at the MCG on Friday.Australian Twenty20 captain indeed pointed out Sharma as very difficult to work around as the 6'3" leg-spinner got unusual bounce even on a flat deck at the MCG.
Image: Rahul Sharma
Rohit may have to sit out of ODIs
If India wants to keep both the spinners in the eleven, it would imply shortening the batting, most likely at the cost of Rohit Sharma.
Sharma waited the entire Test series for his opportunity which never came his way. Luck bedevilled him in the Twenty20s as well. He was bowled on nought on a diabolic pitch in Sydney and didn't have the opportunity to bat in the second at MCG on Friday.
Tendulkar's return would mean greater stability in the top order which is finally beginning to show promise with Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.One of the two regular Test opener would have to make way for Tendulkar at the start of the innings but both Gambhir and Sehwag would have no qualms in doing so.
Image: Rohit Sharma
Dhoni looks good after hitting form in the T20s
Gambhir in fact has quite a decent record at number three and indeed slammed an outstanding 91 in the World Cup final coming one drop.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is another one who is just turning the corner of a miserable summer with unbeaten knocks of 48 and 21 in the two Twenty20 internationals.
India most probably would bring back Zaheer Khan and it could mean the omission of one of the two Kumars -- Praveen or Vinay.
As has looked so far post the Test matches, returning all-rounder Irfan Pathan would have to wait for his chance for sometime later in the series.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Wade to be introduced in the ODIs
Australia will be stronger as well with the return of five Test heavyweights in the One-day squad -- batting greats Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey, who between them slammed five Test centuries, including two double and a triple, in the Test series.
Fast bowler Ryan Harris and left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc would be as much welcome to provide the force which has been so upsetting for the Indian batsmen all summer.Australia's balance would be further enhanced by the introduction of Matthew Wade who played two brilliant innings of 72 and 32 in Twenty20 internationals batting at different slots of an opener and a number six bat.
Image: Matthew Wade
Aus face a younger, fitter India in the ODIs
Besides Wade, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty are being carried over from the Twenty20 squad.
Australia are no less keen to avenge the loss of World Cup quarter-finals last year in Ahmedabad which paved the way for India's ultimate World Cup triumph.
The hosts are aware they face a different and possibly stronger, challenge in India's young One-day team who are quick between the wickets and extremely agile in the outfield.Even the vastness of MCG didn't quite deter them in putting up a brilliant show in the field and eke out as many as four run-outs off the otherwise fleet-footed Australian batsmen.
Image: Indian players celebrate a wicket
India have won the last six of the ten ODIs vs Australia
Both sides have a lot to play for in terms of prestige. While Australia is officially ranked No 1 in the world, India are the reigning world champions and Australia have won seven of their last 10 matches -- India nine of their last 10 ties!
Of the last 10 finished games between the two nations, India has won six while Australia has triumphed in four games. It reflects the competitiveness which both teams have against each other in the One-day arena.
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ricky Ponting, Peter Forrest, Dan Christian, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Brett Lee, Ryan Harris, Mitch Starc, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitch Marsh.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Zaheer Khan.
Umpires: Nigel Llong (England) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia).
Third umpire: Paul Reiffel (Aus)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe).The match will start at 8.50 a.m IST.
Image: Gautam Gambhir celebrates after taking the catch to dismiss David Warner