India v Australia, 1st ODI, Pune October 12, 2013

Questions for both sides in opener


Match facts

Sunday, October 13, 2013
Start time 1330 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

If you trace a line through the venues for this ODI series, it starts from western India and runs across the northern, eastern and central parts of the country before culminating in the shape of a question mark in the south. As India and Australia traverse that line for the next three-and-a-half weeks, they will doubtless ask questions of each other. The foremost for Australia will be - can this squad, sorely lacking experience compared to previous sides, come close to matching their limited-overs deeds in India?

The last ODI Australia played in India was the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup. The churn Australian cricket has gone through since then is reflected in the fact that only three members of that XI are part of the current touring party. Previous Australia ODI visits to India have been successful due to two big factors; powerful, dominating batsmen who have taken toll of India's relatively weaker attacks on benign pitches, and bowlers of real pace who have squeezed enough out of those surfaces to prevent the home batsmen from running amok.

Names such as Brett Lee, and later, Doug Bollinger, come to mind, hustling India batsmen with extra speed. Mitchell Johnson is the only such bowler in the present squad, although Nathan Coulter-Nile can produce bursts as well. However, Australia are well served on the power-batting front, Aaron Finch, in Rajkot, providing enough evidence of that.

India's No 1 ODI ranking is on the line, although it will require a 1-6 hammering, something that would leave Australia captain George Bailey "very surprised" if it happens. For MS Dhoni, as always, the question is not how to make runs, but how to prevent them from being made by the opposition. The new ODI rule restricting deep fielders to a maximum of four has only added to his problems. "I don't know where to bring in that one fielder inside in the last ten overs when the batsmen are intent going for the bowlers," Dhoni said. "That's one area where we have to work on. We have to see how to use that channel to put pressure on the opposition."

Form guide (Most recent games first)

Australia WLWWL

In the spotlight

Rohit Sharma has reinvented himself as an ODI opener following successful outings in the Champions Trophy, in the West Indies and in Zimbabwe. The promotion had come at home against England earlier this year. But his strike-rate has taken a beating at the top of the order. The needs in overseas conditions were different, but in Indian conditions, he will be required to provide explosive starts.

The last time Australia toured India for a bilateral ODI series, in 2009, Shane Watson was their highest wicket-taker and third-highest run-getter, after Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting. Those two are no longer around, meaning extra responsibility for Watson. More pertinently, he had an agonizing time during the Test tour earlier this year leading to much upheaval within the team and will have to play a role completely different from the divisive one he did then.

Team news

India have the same squad that played the solitary T20 and should stick to the same XI, unless Vinay Kumar, who hurt his left wrist in Rajkot, fails to recover.

India (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar/Mohammed Shami/Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Ishant Sharma

Callum Ferguson and Phillip Hughes are the additions to the Australia squad from the T20 one. Nic Maddinson impressed on debut in Rajkot, but he isn't part of the ODI group, which means one of Ferguson and Hughes should come in.

Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Phillip Hughes, 3 Shane Watson, 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile/James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty

Pitch and conditions

The Maharashtra Cricket Association's new stadium on the outskirts of Pune will make its ODI debut. Its pitch has played notoriously and stubbornly slow and low during IPL seasons. The IPL comes at the end of the season, but even during the early-season Ranji Trophy matches, the venue hasn't seen much life. Last November, Maharashtra declared on 764 for 6. Uttar Pradesh replied with 669 for 7, and their coach Venkatesh Prasad was moved into terming the surface "pathetic", albeit for a four-day match.

The start time for all games this series has been advanced by an hour to 1.30pm to try and counter the autumn's prospect of dewy nights. Before that, the match will have to weather the 50% rain that is forecast for the day, although not much of it is expected in the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • India have won their last eight ODIs
  • The MCA Stadium in Pune will become India's 44th ODI venue. The Nehru Stadium, the old international venue in the city, hosted the last of its 11 matches* in November 2005.


"I don't think there's any advantage. It's a nice statistic though but there's no advantage to be gained from this. I don't worry about it too much. I am not really thinking about maintaining the streak."
George Bailey on Australia's ODI record in India

"Australia have good batting depth and can bat up to No 9. That's their strength and that is why in the T20, they were not too concerned about losing wickets and adopted an aggressive approach."
MS Dhoni

*October 13, 0640GMT The number of matches hosted by the Nehru Stadium has been corrected.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sam on October 13, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    God only knows why Dhoni has a lot of love for bowlers Vinay and Ishant in ODIs and Ishant in tests.

  • Aaranya on October 13, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    I am the supporter of Ashwin. However, when I see him bowling, I never feel that the batsman is getting troubled by his bowling and always think that he is not going to get the wickets....But that could be Ashwin's real the statistics tells different story.......

  • Android on October 13, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    today India win . . . . . .

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    Rahane,Manoj Tiwary,Robin Uthappa,Gautam Gambhir are replaced by far less talented Rohit Sharma,Ambati Raydu,ms dhoni and jadeja. The latter four are IPL kings. I have never seen any consistency in their performance in International arena. Look the brilliant boy Shukla from RR just languishing for Ishant Sharma who never performed to the International standards.I always found a kind of phylum baji going on indian dressing room. Poor Yuvraj, served his best than Raina for Indian Team but no secured berth. Look at Gambhi, far more talented than Dhoni and could have been a good and transparent captain India has ever produced, but languishing outside. Mera Bharat Mahan.

  • Vinod on October 13, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    this series is interesting in the sense that it will throw a big question mark towards MSD, the long he can carry on with his success rate in home series. self-satisfaction as far as he is concerned. for rohit, to assure himself of the opening spot along with shikhar dhawan. for yuvi, it means much more as to how he go about in his come back series. he has already made his announcement with a bang, but this is gonna be a longer format. wish both teams will play upto their potential.

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    This is so funny about Australia , every time they talk about Ashes Series(this series will be good practice for Ashes preparation , this wont be good for ashes bla bla bla .... ) and they give little importance to other Series. Now the situation is they first loose Ashes and throughout the year they prepare for next Ashes, while loosing other series in between.This is not good cricket from them.

  • Suchith on October 13, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Pujara, Ajinkya and M Tiwary its tough on all of you to be out of the playing eleven but that is the strength of Indian team....... Lads like Unmukt, K Rahul, Zol, M Pandey etc are performing very well almost every single match and are considered as next genertion of Indian cricket For Pujara he is now atleast a regular member of the indian test side...... Rahane and M Tiwary is very much on course to be next Badrinath(unluckiest of the lot by huge margin).

  • Android on October 13, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Australia are looking strong for this tour of India especially as most of the Aussie players have been in India for the clt20. there is a definate need for India to get a fast strike bowler who MS Dhoni can rely on to get wickets in difficult situations.

  • Yogarajan on October 13, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Ashwin Ashwin Ashwin!!! most of the comments about ashwin. I don't know wat gone wrong with the people. they want hm to fail and if he fails in one match that too T20 they want him to be out. don't know why... It doesn't matter whether ashwin bowls off spinner, leg spinner, top spinner googly or the carrom ball. he is the no.1 bowler of the current Indian ODI team. He is the only Indian bowler who can bowl anywhere between 1-50 ovrs and who can handle the pressure.It is evident that is seen from MSD whenever he thinks he need a strike or handle pressure he goes to ashwin. After all the great bajji was given chance for a year and then only let off. I don't find ashwin in any sorts of problem. what ashwin is different from other bowler is that he don't want the batsmen to read him so easily, and thats where you are top on your game. lets wait and watch who knows he may also be the leading wicket taker of the upcoming series.

  • Suchith on October 13, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    why always sticking with ishant... Bring in unadkat, can also try out ishwar pandey performing day in and day out Thinking he will deliver every match is non sense, maybe once or twice in every 10 matches, this is not expected from the most experienced bowler in the current squad

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