January 12, 2015
Start time 1120 local (0320 GMT)
The last time Australia and India met in an international match, the stakes were enormous. A place in the World Cup final was the prize. Steven Smith's 105 at the SCG set up an Australian victory that ended India's hold on the World Cup, and propelled Australia into a final against New Zealand, in which they would ultimately triumph. That was less than 10 months ago, but much has changed in Australia's one-day setup since then. Gone from that team are Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin, all retired, Mitchell Starc, who is injured, and Shane Watson, who has been dropped. Smith is now the captain, and his side won its only ODI series since the World Cup, against England after the Ashes.
India's 2015 was far less satisfying. After being knocked out of the World Cup, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 result in a bilateral series against Bangladesh, and also lost at home to South Africa. Their only ODI series win since the World Cup was against Zimbabwe. Their line-up has undergone far less change than Australia's, though from the XI that lost the World Cup semi-final they will be missing the injured Mohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami, as well as Suresh Raina, who was axed after a disappointing series against South Africa. It is against this backdrop that they could blood three new players in this series - the uncapped Barinder Sran, Gurkeerat Singh and Rishi Dhawan. Australia will have two debutants in the opening ODI in Perth, the fast bowlers Joel Paris and Scott Boland.
And so this series begins with a few different names, but enough familiar ones to ensure the Australia-India rivalry will live on. In fact, Channel Nine have been billing this as the summer's most anticipated series, quite a statement for a bilateral one-day series at the wrong end of a World Cup cycle, but such were the broadcaster's low expectations of the Tests against New Zealand and West Indies over the past two months. The prize may not be as valuable as that which was on offer the last time they played, but Australia versus India is always worth watching, whatever the format, whatever the venue.
Australia: WLLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Joel Paris will make his ODI debut on his home ground at the WACA, although because the Matador Cup is these days played exclusively in the eastern states he has never played a List A game at the venue. Still, Paris knows the WACA well enough to be aware of what works there, as his 14 wickets from two Sheffield Shield games this season prove. The Australians hope that Paris can use the Perth breeze to his advantage in the same way Starc and Johnson have in past years, even if he doesn't quite boast the same pace.
In the Test series last summer, Virat Kohli proved that he enjoys batting in Australian conditions, scoring four centuries in the four Tests. In fact, in eight Tests in Australia he averages 62.00. But he has struggled to display that same form when playing in Australia against Australia in the one-day format, with an average of 15.83 from seven matches. It is a strange anomaly for Kohli, and one he will be keen to rectify in this series.
Australia confirmed their XI on the eve of the match, with fast bowlers Paris and Boland both named to make their ODI debuts. Kane Richardson is the fast bowler who misses out, while there was no room for Shaun Marsh in the batting order.
Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Scott Boland, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Joel Paris
India have come to Australia with just five established specialist batsmen, which means a big opportunity at No. 6 for either Gurkeerat Singh or Manish Pandey. Early indications suggest Gurkeerat is in line for a debut but Pandey presented a strong case with a fifty in the warm-up match. The injury to Mohammed Shami suggests left-arm quick Barinder Sran will get his debut. If India play only two spinners, the fifth bowler to partner Sran, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja could be the allrounder Rishi Dhawan, who is yet make his debut, or Ishant Sharma, who is making a return to the limited-overs side.
India (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Gurkeerat Singh/Manish Pandey, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Barinder Sran, 11 Ishant Sharma/Axar Patel/Rishi Dhawan
Pitch and conditions
The WACA pitch is expected to offer pace and bounce, and the forecast for the match is for a top temperature of 26C.
Stats and trivia
- Since the end of 2008, India have won only one of the six completed ODIs they have played against Australia in Australia
- India must win at least one of the five ODIs in this series to retain second spot on the ICC one-day international rankings
- India boast three men currently in the top 10 ODI batting rankings - Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni - while Australia have only one, Glenn Maxwell
- The last time Australia had two debutants in the same ODI was at the Adelaide Oval in January 2013, when Kane Richardson and Ben Cutting both debuted against Sri Lanka
"Traditionally we like to play a left-armer here who can use the breeze and move the ball so hopefully he'll be able to do that for us tomorrow."
Steven Smith on the inclusion of Joel Paris
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale