Mumbai: India will look to start well against Australia in the first ODI at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday as they look to avenge the rare home series defeat they suffered against the same opposition last year.
India, particularly Kohli, had good reason to feel aggrieved by that series defeat in early 2019.
It was India's first loss at home under Kohli's captaincy in six series, and it came against an understrength Australian side, lacking stars such as Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc.
Now, India have an opportunity to settle scores but certainly it won't be an easy against a formidable Aussie side, who have regained their mojo back after couple of series wins in recent times. Both teams enter the series on the back of terrific form. India have just brushed aside Sri Lanka 2-0 in a T20I series after having convincingly won both T20I and ODI series against West Indies.
While Australia's limited-overs form has been pretty good too. They won each of their five completed T20Is against Sri Lanka and Pakistan during the home season. However, they will be fully aware that facing India in fifty-over cricket will be a different beast altogether.
For India, it will be a difficult choice between KL Rahul's consistency and Shikhar Dhawan's experience when they take on a full-strength Australia in the first match of the three-match series.
Opener Rohit Sharma will be also back after being rested in Sri Lanka series, while the likes of Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Risabh pant will be raring to go. India's hungry-for-wickets pace attack led by Bumrah, Shami and Navdeep Saini is ready to test the Australians with subtle variations.
Kuldeep Yadav has looked in better form with the ball as compared to Yuzvendra Chahal in the recent games and he is likely to be India's second spinner, along with Ravindra Jadeja who will play as an all-rounder at no 7.
For Australia, captain Aaron Finch and David Warner will open the innings. Steve Smith, who batted at no 3 for Australia in the World Cup might drop down to 4 in favour of Marnus Labuschagne who has been brilliant at no 3 for Australia in Test cricket in the last few months.
Ashton Turner and Alex Carey will be the finishers for the Kangaroos, while Ashton Agar might play as the spin bowling all-rounder.
In bowling, IPL's costliest buy Pat Cummins, along with Kane Richardson and Mitchell Starc will leave no stone unturned to make life uncomfortable for Kohli and his men.(UNI)