IND vs AUS: Team India desperate to start series on positive note

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KL Rahul almost forgot that his last ODI innings resulted in a century for India. It is also easy to forget that Australia and India played a three-match ODI series earlier this year. It has been such a turbulent year that everyone just wants cricket to begin.

Today’s encounter will be the first cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground this season. The winter rugby codes stretched well into October, meaning the ground staff had minimal time to repair and prepare the pitch.

The fresh pitch and the uncertainty around the conditions mean Australia are expected to rely on its fast bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to unsettle the Indian batting. The Australian batting is well settled with plenty of depth. Add to that, the form of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and the home side have all their bases covered.

COVID-19 restrictions on spectators have eased in Sydney with the local government allowing venues to operate at 50 per cent capacity. It means there will be close to 20,000 spectators present at the SCG. The SCG will be a sea of blue today with Indian fans frantically purchasing tickets the minute they were released.

India had a competitive 40-over intra squad match under lights on Sunday at the Blacktown Oval. Additionally, all the white-ball players have been put through various match simulation scenarios over the past 10 days to ensure all are match ready.

Ever since landing in Australia, Hardik Pandya has been working on his action but is unlikely to bowl and play as a frontline batsman. KL Rahul will don the big gloves and bat at No. 5 with Ravindra Jadeja playing the role of an all-rounder. Mayank Agarwal will partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top with Shreyas Iyer at No. 4. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini are expected to be the fast bowling trio with Yuzvendra Chahal as the frontline spinner.

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India’s victory margin during the 2018-19 ODI series in Australia

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