India seek to rebound on flat surface
January 15, 2016
Start time 1320 local (0320 GMT)
Australia carry a 1-0 series lead to the second match in Brisbane, although there were several stages during the first ODI in Perth when India looked to be in control of the game. Batting first, they put on 1 for 149 in the first 30 overs and with so many wickets in hand, should have been looking at a total up around 350. That they reached only 309 was perhaps a disappointment, but it didn't seem that it would matter when Australia stumbled early in their chase and were 2 for 21. Again, India were well on top.
But then came the partnership that changed the match, a 242-run stand between Steven Smith and George Bailey that was Australia's fourth-highest of all time in one-day internationals, and their highest for the third wicket. That the chase came down to the last over perhaps suggested a tighter finish than it really was; for most of the last 10 overs, Australia needed less than a run a ball with plenty of wickets in hand.
Rohit Sharma's unbeaten 171 had gone in vain; he said India had suffered from being unsure how to pace their batting innings, and what would be a good total. Batting second once again might be an advantage at the Gabba, where although the pitch is good, expected afternoon and evening rain might bring adjusted targets into play. Duckworth-Lewis can favour the chasing team after mid-match rain, for they know precisely what tempo is required, unlike the side that has already batted.
Whatever the case and whatever the chase, India can hardly afford another loss. If they find themselves 0-2 down in a five-match series, they will have no margin for error.
Australia: WWLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
It is often said that Shaun Marsh has been lucky to be given so many chances at Test cricket. By the same token, he has been unlucky not to play more than 46 ODIs. It is testament to the strength and stability of Australia's one-day top order - and in recent years their penchant for choosing allrounders - that Marsh has played only 10 ODIs in the past four years. His game suits 50-over cricket, picking gaps and ticking the scoreboard along in the middle overs, and his ODI average of 39.81 is superior to past openers like Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist, as well as the incumbents David Warner and Aaron Finch. Warner's absence for paternity leave should give Marsh a chance to bump his numbers up even further.
In all of one-day international history, 7999 individual innings have been played against Australia. Rohit Sharma has played 19 of those and has been so successful that four of the top 20 ODI scores of all time against Australia belong to him. With a 500-run minimum, no batsman has a higher ODI average against Australia than Rohit's 68.46. The latest of these monster innings was his 171 not out in Perth, the highest ODI score ever made against Australia in Australia. It turned out that India's total was not sufficient, but if Rohit goes big again there is every chance of India levelling the series.
David Warner will miss the match after the birth of his second daughter, with Shaun Marsh set to take his place at the top of the order. Allrounder Mitchell Marsh will also take a rest before rejoining the squad for the third game in Melbourne. If the selectors want a fifth pace option they will need to include either Kane Richardson or John Hastings in the younger Marsh's place.
Australia (possible) 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 James Faulkner, 8 Kane Richardson/John Hastings, 9 Scott Boland, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Joel Paris.
There seems no real need to alter India's batting line-up after they scored 300-plus in Perth, and while the pace bowlers did their job, the spinners were a touch expensive. It is possible that an extra fast man could come in given the likelihood of similar conditions at the Gabba; Ishant Sharma has been passed fit and is available for selection, or the uncapped Rishi Dhawan could debut, providing more of an all-round option.
India (possible) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin/Rishi Dhawan/Ishant Sharma, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Barinder Sran.
Pitch and conditions
The Gabba pitch often has plenty of runs in it, though it is the venue where Australia were humiliated three years ago when they were swung out for 74 by Sri Lanka. Perhaps of more relevance is the weather forecast, which is for a sunny morning but a high chance of showers and rain developing in the evening, perhaps even a thunderstorm. Better get those Duckworth-Lewis calculations out.
Stats and trivia
- Virat Kohli needs 78 runs to reach 7000 in ODIs; if he gets there within his next six innings, he will beat AB de Villiers' record of 166 innings and will be the fastest of all time to the milestone
- Barinder Sran was the 14th Indian to take three wickets on ODI debut; no bowler has ever taken more than three on debut for India
- Scott Boland was the third Australian to concede 70-plus runs on his ODI debut. His captain Steven Smith took 2 for 78 on debut in 2010, and 1970s fast man David Colley was the other
"I'm expecting the same sort of scenario here as well - I haven't seen a one-day wicket that hasn't been flat here for a fair while."
James Faulkner believes the Gabba will provide similar conditions to the WACA
"There were a lot of positives to be taken from that game, especially playing in Perth and scoring 300 runs."
Rohit Sharma on what India can take from the loss in Perth
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale