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Rohit returns as India aim to seal ODI series

Last updated on: March 19, 2023 10:52 IST

IMAGE: India's players celebrate a wicket during the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

The spotlight will once again be on K L Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja when India take on Australia in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, with regular captain Rohit Sharma returning to lead the side after missing the opening game in Mumbai.


India defeated Australia by five wickets in a low-scoring game at the Wankhede Stadium, with Rahul, who struggled to find form during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and was dropped for the third and fourth Tests, scoring a patient unbeaten 75 to steer the hosts to a convincing five-wicket victory.

Jadeja, playing ODI cricket after nearly eight months due to a knee injury and subsequent surgery, scored an unbeaten 45 in the chase of 188. He also bowled a tight spell and returned figures of 2/46 and was declared Player of the Match.

With the ODI World Cup being hosted by India later this year, an in-form Rahul and a fully-fit Jadeja will be an asset, and the three-match series will help the selectors assess the duo's progress.

IMAGE: K L Rahul struck an unbeaten 75 to anchor their nervy chase against Australia in a low-scoring first ODI. Photograph: BCCI

India will be aiming to seal the series by winning the second match which will give them an unassailable 2-0 lead. They would be looking to make amends with the bat, after they were in a spot of bother at 4/39, and later 5/83, before Rahul and Jadeja came together at the crease to guide the hosts to victory with 61 balls to spare.

Captain Rohit's return will certainly give solidity to the top order, which crumbled to the pace and variations of Australian quick Mitchell Starc. He is likely to replace Ishan Kishan, who perished for three in the Mumbai ODI.

The lanky left-arm pacer's three-wicket burst at the start put India under tremendous pressure, with Virat Kohli (4), Suryakumar Yadav (0) and Shubman Gill (20) departing in quick succession after Marcus Stoinis had made an early dent by dismissing Kishan.

India's batters have occasionally looked tentative against quality left-arm pacers, and facing Starc in the remaining two games should give them good practice in home conditions, with efforts focused towards making preparations for the World Cup in October-November.

While not much should be read into Kohli and Gill's below-par scores in the first ODI, Suryakumar not being able to find his mojo in the 50-over format is a reason for concern.

A marauder with the bat in T20Is, Suryakumar is struggling to make his mark in the 50-over format. He has not gone past the 50-run mark in his last 15 ODIs (13 innings) in the last 12 months.

However, with no timeline set for Shreyas Iyer's return, India will keep auditioning Suryakumar for the role at No 4.

IMAGE: Mohammed Shami celebrates with Virat Kohli after taking the wicket of Sean Abbott. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

India's bowling did a tremendous job in Mumbai with pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj flourishing on a pace-friendly Wankhede pitch but wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav could not make a strong impression.

However, the team management is not expected to tinker with the bowling line-up, with Pandya playing the role of a third seamer to perfection.

The weather forecast for the second ODI is of scattered thunderstorms at least in the first half, which also means that pacers from either side can swing the ball if the conditions are windy.

Australia want to try out different combinations during the series. On Friday, they went in with four all-rounders -- Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell -- and still couldn't trouble India much, which would be a concern for captain Steve Smith.

As a makeshift opener in the absence of David Warner, Marsh provided a rapid start with a 65-ball 81 but Australia lost the way in the middle overs, crashing from 129/2 to 188 all out against quality pace in Mumbai. The visitors lost six wickets for a meagre 19 runs despite having a deep batting line-up, something that they will look to work on.

Smith and Marnus Labuschagne may have encountered difficult pitches in the Test series but the wickets for ODIs in India are usually batter-friendly, and both the Aussie mainstays will be expected to do more.

Smith has not crossed the 50-run mark so far on this India tour. For someone who has a mountain of runs against India, the Australian stand-in skipper will look to end the drought.


India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul (w/k), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkat.

Australia: Steven Smith (captain), David Warner, Travis Head,Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis (w/k), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa.

Match starts at 1.30pm IST.

Where to watch: Australia's tour of India 2023 will be broadcast live on Star Sports channels. Live streaming will also be available on the Disney+Hotstar app in India.



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