Under-pressure India face buoyant Aussies with series on the line

Match details
SCA Stadium, Rajkot
January 17, Friday; 13:30 IST

The main picture

Being nil-one down in a three-match series isn’t an unfamiliar territory for India. In 2019, they thrice won the series after losing the first match (ODI or T20I), and one of those was against Australia in Australia. This time, however, Virat Kohli and co. are up against a far better opposition and, more importantly, their key players have been a little rusty on their returns from injury layoffs (Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan) and after being rested for the T20I series against Sri Lanka (Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami). At the post-match press conference, opening batsman Dhawan termed the defeat in Mumbai as “one bad day in the office”, whether that was really the case or whether India were given some sort of a reality check, we’ll know tomorrow.

For starters, India must get their team combination right. Australia were so dominant in Mumbai that we can’t attribute India’s defeat to team selection alone, but with Rishabh Pant being ruled out of the second ODI with concussion, the Indian think-tank is once again challenged to pick the right personnel and get the balance of the playing XI right.

KL Rahul was secure with the wicketkeeping gloves, solving what would have otherwise been an issue, and a back-up hasn’t been named yet. India could choose between Shivam Dube and Kedar Jadhav, who will give them a few overs with the ball and can score at more than a run-a-ball batting at No. 6, while retaining the bowling quintet from the first ODI.

Australia have enough experience and knowhow that they won’t allow a drop in intensity. Replicating that performance will be a challenge in itself but going 1-0 up has done them more than one good, the primary of which is put the home team under pressure. Aaron Finch and his men have none of India’s worries, and the series is there for the taking.

Rajkot SCA Stadium pitch report and weather forecast

The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium isn’t too dissimilar in nature than the Wankhede pitch. If anything, it will be more easy-paced and the bounce will be less, which, it could be argued, suit India more than Australia. It’s a bigger playing area, too, though the fast outfield means the batsmen who hit the gaps will have good value for their shots. The possibility of dew could sway the captain winning the toss to bowl first.

The forecast says that Friday will be clear, with a low temperature of 9 degree Celsius.

India vs Australia 2nd ODI playing 11

Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 KL Rahul (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Shivam Dube/Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Possible Australia playing 11: 1 Aaron Finch (c), 2 David Warner, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Ashton Turner, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Adam Zampa

India vs Australia 2nd ODI telecast channel

The second One-Day International between India and Australia will be telecast on the Star Sports network and streamed live on Hotstar. The match can also be viewed on DD National.

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