Confident India eye another big win against edgy Aussies
By Tapan Mohanta
Kolkata, Sep 20 (PTI) India would expect their top order batsmen to make amends for a rare poor show in the series- opener and hope that the spinners continue to torment Australia when the two teams clash in the second One-Dayer, here tomorrow.
The Australians are struggling against India's new spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal and the hosts would like to ensure that it doesn't get any easy as the series progresses.
Yadav is proving to be a mystery for the Aussies, who have have also struggled to pick Chahal's sliders. The visitors were seen taking the help of local wrist spinners to find tricks to counter the Indian bowlers.
While Kerala's KK Jiyas helped them before the Chennai ODI, two local club bowlers -- Ashutosh Shibram and Rupak Guha -- provided some practice to the Aussie batsmen, here.
Chasing a revised target of 164 in 21 overs in the rain- interrupted first ODI, Aussies were 35 for four before Glenn Maxwell's power-hitting raised hopes of an unlikely win.
But Chahal and Yadav went about their task meticulously to seal a 26-run win by the D/L method.
The Aussies have a bigger threat to contend with in Hardik Pandya who steered India to a respectable 281 for seven from a precarious 76/6.
Pandya hit another hat-trick of sixes -- four times in International cricket -- as he smashed 83 from 66 balls in a match-turning 118-run partnership with MS Dhoni (79 from 88).
Pandya's rise since IPL-2015 has been remarkable. From being a careless hitter to restraining his shots in the V, Pandya has matured as a player.
He has also emerged as the utility medium-pace all- rounder that India have been searching for long.
His knock in Chennai not only seized the momentum but had a demoralising effect on Australia's leading spinner Adam Zampa who was left ruing his "lengths".
It remains to be seen how the Australian spin resources challenge the formidable Indian batting line up. The visitors have three part-time tweakers in Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head and Ashton Agar.
"We have enough variation in our attack but it's about executing your plans," Zampa said.
"In Australia you can mess up your length a little bit and you will probably get away with it purely because of the (size of ground). Here the length is very important."
It is also a challenging time for skipper Steve Smith, who needs to lead from the front. David Warner also must fire to set the foundation.
Looking at Hilton Cartwright's plight in the top order in Chennai, it won't be a bad ploy to hand the opening slot to Travis Head, who had a promising 65 in their 103-run win in the warm up match against Board President's XI.
Should Australia move Head to the opening slot, either Glenn Maxwell or Marcus Stoinis would be in line to fill the number four slot where they have already experimented six players since George Bailey was dropped earlier this year.
Known to thrive on their all-rounders, the Aussies will also look for significant contributions from the likes of James Faulkner, Stoinis and Maxwell.
As for Indian batting, it's really a healthy sign that their lower-order is living up to the challenge after the failure of top-order. If Dhoni is back in his elements, it was also pleasing to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar's cameo of 32 not out off 30.
India would just hope for a strong start from stop gap opener Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma while skipper Kohli will also look to return among runs after his rare failure in Chennai.
Kohli has an aggregate of 1017 runs in 19 innings with four hundreds and six fifties in ODIs this year.
India and Australia will play only their second ODI at the Eden since their TVS Cup final in November, 2003 but a forecast of rain, induced by low pressure and monsoon, is threatening to spoil the contest.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.
Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch.
Match starts: 13:30 IST