India take on Australia in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday, having recorded a historic 2-1 Test series triumph in the recently concluded four-match series.
Here are the live-match updates:
# Nathan Lyon replaces Glenn Maxwell in the attack as Australia struggle to pick wickets. However, Sharma and Dhoni continue to pick runs at regular intervals with two runs off the over. India 101/3( 26 overs)
# India 99/3 (25 overs)
# Nine runs off the over as India look to accelerate with two boundaries scored off the over. Half-century for Rohit Sharma which is his 38th in ODI cricket. India 95/3 (24 overs)
# Spinner Glenn Maxwell replaces Marcus Stoinis in the attack with fast bowler Jhye Richardson introduced into the attack from the other end.
# India 86/3 (23 overs)
# Marcus Stoinis continues to bowl in the middle overs for Australia with Peter Siddle brought into the attack as Dhoni scores the first boundary of the innings. Rohit Sharma and MSD have stitched an 80-run partnership in the innings so far and continue to keep the scoreboard ticking with quick singles India 79/3 (22 overs)
# India 73/3 (21 overs)
# India 68/3 (20 overs)
# Five runs off the 19th over bowled by Nathan Lyon as Dhoni and Sharma look to indulge in risk-free gameplay. India 62/3 (19 overs)
# Marcus Stoinis brought into the attack by Australian skipper Aaron Finch in search of a breakthrough. Four runs off the over as the batsmen look to play shots down the ground and run singles whenever handed an opportunity. India 57/3 (18 overs)
# 4 sixes and 0 boundaries for India in the innings so far as Rohit comes down the track to smash a six off the last delivery to make it 6 runs from the over for India. India 53/3 (17 overs)
# India 47/3 (16 overs)
# India 44/3 (15 overs)
# India 35/3 (14 overs)
# India 26/3 (13 overs)
# Just a single off the next over bowled by Peter Siddle with the two batsmen struggling to score freely against the disciplined bowling attack. Dhoni has scored 6 runs off 29 deliveries with Rohit Sharma currently at 12 off 33 deliveries as India reach 26/3 (12 overs)
# Nathan Lyon, who was the joint highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded Test series has been introduced into the attack. Both the batsmen are looking in bad nick at this stage of the innings and prefer to play it safe against the off-spinner with just 4 runs off the over. India 25/3 (11 overs)
# Just 2 runs off the over as India reach 21/2 at the end of 10 overs. India 21/2 (10 overs)
# Peter Siddle has been introduced into the attack!
# India 19/3 (9 overs)
# Jhye Richardson and Behendroff continue to dominate India with some tight, accurate bowling. The visitors have managed to score only 3 runs off the over, as the chase struggles to gain momentum. India 17/3 (8 overs)
# Jason Behendroff has not allowed the hosts to make their way back into the clash, with a maiden over, deceiving the batsmen with his variations in line and length. India 14/3 (7 overs)
# 3 runs for India from the over as Dhoni and Sharma look to ensure a risk-free approach against Jhye Richardson who has been in fine form for the hosts in the clash so far. India 14/3 (6 overs)
# Productive over for India as Rohit Sharma gets off the mark with a six, which will certainly boost the confidence of the visitors. India 11/3 (5 overs)
# Veteran MS Dhoni is the next batsman on the crease!
# Jhye Richardson on fire after trapping Rayadu lbw off a delivery pitched at perfect length, further angled in as Australia celebrate. India 4/3 (3.5 overs)
#Ambati Rayadu is the new batsman in!
# Wicket! Virat Kohli departs after failing to negotiate a swinging delivery by Jhye Richardson, going on to pick Stoinis at short square leg to perfection. India 4/2 (3.3 overs)
# India 4/1 (3 overs)
# Jhye Richardson maintains the pressure on the Indian batsman with a maiden over as Australia continue to pile pressure on the visitors. India 1/1 (2 overs)
# Virat Kohli is the next batsman in!
# Wicket! Shikhar Dhawan has been dismissed for a duck after failing to negotiate a swinging delivery by Jason Behendroff, which hits him on the pads resulting in an early blow for India. India 1/1 (1 over)
# Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are all set to kick off proceedings with Jason Behendroff set to bowl the opening over!
# India need 289 runs to go 1-0 up in the ODI series!
# Australia 288/5 (50 overs)
# Australia 270/5 (49 overs)
# 11 runs off the 47th over as Australia inch closer to a defendable total. Australia 259/5 (48 overs)
# Glenn Maxwell is the next player in!
# Wicket! Peter Handscomb attempts to smash Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a big shot, but fails to generate any proper contact, handing a catch to Shikhar Dhawan on the boundary. Australia 254/5 (47.2 overs)
# Australia 240/4 (46 overs)
# Australia 229/4 (45 overs)
# Kuldeep Yadav is brought back into the attack and gets singled out for some special treatment, leaking 14 runs on the back of two mighty sixes by Marcus Stoinis. Australia 222/4 (44 overs)
# Ravindra Jadeja is back in the attack, as the match nears the finishing stages. Jadeja keeps it tight with some swift, accurate deliveries with six runs conceeded off the over as Australia struggle to take control of the clash. Australia 208/4 (43 overs)
# Australia need to break the shackles as the boundaries have dried up. Kuldeep leaks only three runs off the next over. Australia 202/4 (42 overs)
# India have slowly gained control over the clash as Australia struggle to score boundaries. The trend continues as Shami further leaks only four runs off his over. Australia 199/4 (41 overs)
# Kuldeep Yadav keeps it tight as well, conceeding just four runs off the next over. Australia 195/4 (40 overs)
# Mohammed Shami comes back into the attack, with a tight over resulting in only a single run being added to the Australian innings. Australia 191/4 (39 overs)
# Marcus Stoinis is the new man in!
# Wicket! Kuldeep Yadav strikes yet again, tempting Shaun Marsh with a length delivery which has decent spin on it. Marsh fails to generate any proper connect, resulting in an easy catch for Shami who makes no mistakes. Australia 186/4 (37.3 overs)
# Half-century for Shaun Marsh alongwith a 50-run partnership between Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh as Australia steadily approach the last ten overs in a comfortable position. Australia 185/3 (37 overs)
# Peter Handscomb smashes Bhuvneshwar Kumar for consecutive boundaries off the first two deliveries, which are delivered at a tempting length. Kumar makes a comeback in the remaining deliveries, with Australia accumulating 11 runs in the over. Australia 171/3 (35 overs)
# Left-arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed has been brought back into the attack without much success, leaking nine runs. Australia are steadily gaining control over the clash with finishers like Glenn Maxwell set to come in down the order. Australia 160/3 (34 overs)
# Bhuvneshwar Kumar is introduced back into the attack following his opening spell. The hosts are able to score only 1 run in the over with the fast-bowler attacking the stumps on a consistent basis. Australia 151/3 (33 overs)
# Shami continues with the ball, urging the batsmen to play a wrong shot by bowling short-pitched deliveries at a high pace. However, no success so far for the fast bowler who conceedes five runs in the over. Australia 150/3 (32 overs)
# Australia score seven runs in the next over bowled by Ravindra Jadeja following a boundary off the last delivery. The all-rounder attempted to reduce his pace and was duly punished by Handscomb. Australia 145/3 (31 overs)
# Mohammad Shami replaces Khaleel Ahmed in the bowling attack, with the latter unable to generate any proper impact. Australia manage to score only two runs in the over with singles off the last two deliveries. Australia 138/3 (30 overs)
# Peter Handscomb is the next batsman in for Australia!
# Wicket! Ravindra Jadeja accounts for the key wicket of Usman Khawaja, who seemed to be in good form so far. Jadeja fires in a flat and straight delivery which the batsman missed hitting him outside of leg. Umpire’s call! Khawaja is out. Australia 133/3 (28.2 overs)
# Half-century for Usman Khawaja!
# Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja have stitched a 50-run partnership and are steadily rebuilding the Australian innings. Ravindra Jadeja and Ambati Rayadu have been brought into the attack without much success so far. Australia 103/2 (23 overs)
# Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami have been brought into the attack by skipper Virat Kohli with the former striking early during his bowling spell. The fast-bowler has also attempted to unsettle the batsmen with his bounce, pace and variations. Australia 66/2 (15 overs)
# Shaun Marsh makes his way down to the crease!
# Wicket! Kuldeep Yadav strikes for India, deceiving opener Alex Carey with a flat delivery outside off stump, which the youngster fails to negotitate, handing a catch to Rohit Sharma at slips who makes no mistakes. Australia 41/2 (9.5 overs)
# Australia are under pressure in the initial overs with opening bowlers Khaleel Ahmed and Bhuvneshwar Kumar providing limited room to the batsmen for playing their shots. Carey has been attacking in his approach so far, with some grounded strokes whenever provided an opportunity. Australia 30/1 (7 overs)
# Usman Khawaja is the new man in for Australia!
# Wicket! Bhuvneshwar Kumar strikes for India, dismissing Australian skipper Aaron Finch for just six runs. Finch fails to negotiate the swinging delivery which nips back and hits the stumps. Australia 8/1 (2.2 overs)
# Bhuvneshwar Kumar is all set to kick off proceedings for India. Australian openers Alex Carey and Aaron Finch have made their way down to the middle!
# Australia are all set to don a 1986-inspired retro kit during the ODI clashes against India!
# Here is the Indian lineup!
# Australian captain Aaron Finch has won the toss and opted to bat first!
# Peter Siddle is all set to make an ODI comeback after 8 years having last featured in Sydney in 2010 for Australia!
# Jason Behendroff is all set to make his debut for Australia!
# The visitors are all set for the clash!
Hit hard by an unexpected controversy after the high of the Test triumph, India will look to fine tune their World Cup preparations in the three-match ODI series against an under-fire Australia, beginning in Sydney on Saturday.
In the build-up to the first ODI, skipper Virat Kohli underlined that the team management is still waiting for a decision to be made regarding a ban or punishment to be meted out to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul.
Rahul was unlikely to get a go owing to both his poor form and the presence of a well-settled opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. The bigger question though is regarding Pandya’s absence, for the all-rounder provides crucial balance to the ODI side with his ability to bowl 10 overs as well as bat in the middle order.
Pandya’s absence could mean that India might have to rejig their bowling attack. Jasprit Bumrah has already been rested for this series, as well as the tour of New Zealand, and this allows the think-tank to conduct one final experimentation with their bowling attack.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a shoe-in, and thereafter it depends if Kohli wants to go in with a three-man pace attack to compensate for Pandya’s loss.
In such a scenario, Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed are expected to get the nod, as India continue zeroing on the pace quartet for the World Cup squad. There is a sprinkling of grass on the SCG pitch and it could push the Indian skipper to opt for a three-pacer and two-spinner combination.
Kohli also stated that, in Pandya’s absence, Ravindra Jadeja would step up as the all-rounder. In that light, he would partner up with left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav as India’s five-pronged attack, with Kedar Jadhav fulfilling any part-time bowling duties if needed.
With the two openers, and Kohli at number three, the remaining batting line-up picks itself. Jadhav, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu will form the middle order, and there will be keen interest in the latter duo’s form here.
Dhoni had an off-colour 2018, managing 275 runs in 20 ODIs at average 25 without a half-century. While this is a meagre return for a batsman of his stature, the worrying aspect is Dhoni’s strike-rate of 71.42, which is remarkably lower than his ODI career strike-rate of 87.89.
The Indian middle-order has often come unstuck with Dhoni at the crease, and the team management will be hoping for a fiery start to the year from the stalwart.
India brought in Rayudu for the all-important number four role, and since the Asia Cup last September, have given him a long run in the middle order. In this interim, Rayudu scored 392 runs in 11 ODIs in the Asia Cup and against West Indies at average 56 including a hundred and three half-centuries.
While he put in a more consistent showing than any of the other previously tried contenders, this run came in conditions different from those in England. As such, how Rayudu fares on this twin tour of Australia and New Zealand will be a closer representation of whether the Indian team has finally cracked the number four quandary.
Similar middle-order issues plagued the visitors when they last toured here for an ODI contest, losing 4-1 in January 2016 when Dhoni was still captain. Sharma and Kohli topped the charts with 441 and 381 runs in the five-match series, respectively, while Dhawan also scored 287 runs.
But there were no sizeable contributions from the middle, and only Manish Pandey’s fighting hundred in the final ODI had saved India from a 5-0 scoreline.
India’s ODI record in Australia is quite poor. Apart from the 1985 World Championship and 2008 CB Series wins, they have lost 35 out of 48 ODIs played against Australia on their home soil.
The absence of David Warner (220 runs in three matches in 2016) and Steve Smith (315 runs in five matches in 2016) might help them again though, as also the absence of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, with the trio rested from this series.
Australia have named their playing eleven ahead of the first ODI, with Nathan Lyon featuring as the lone spinner and Peter Siddle returning to this format for the first time since 2010. Keeper-batsman Alex Carey will open in ODI cricket for the first time, and will pair up with skipper Aaron Finch, while Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb will form the middle order.
The hosts bat deep with Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell lined up at numbers six and seven, albeit their pace attack seems weak on paper. With Siddle returning to the format after eight years, left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff will make his ODI debut on Saturday.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.
Australia (playing XI): Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff.