Hardik Pandya’s sudden suspension on disciplinary grounds has badly affected the balance of the batting order which saw India’s 34 run defeat despite Rohit Sharma’s brilliant century.
Dhoni’s 51 off 96 and unable to rotate strike is a worrying factor for skipper Virat and coach Ravi Shastri.
Dhoni who bats at no 5, but Rohit Sharma wants the former captain to bat a slot higher, however, during the training session it became clear that there will be no changes in the batting-line up.
India’s batting order did come under the spotlight at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The top three (Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli) have enjoyed a fairly consistent run since 2016. But it was a rare occasion when Dhoni had to come out in the fourth over of the innings.
However, in the last match, M S became the fifth Indian batsman after legendary Sachin Tendulkar, former captain Sourav Ganguly, present India Under-19 Head Coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Virat Kohli to score 10,000 ODI runs for India.
Chasing a challenging target of 289 runs, India got off to a worst possible start as their three top order batsmen departed early -Shikhar Dhawan (0), Virat Kohli (3) and Ambati Rayudu (0).
Kohli was caught by Marcus Stoinis off Jhye Richardson in third over. It was Virat’s rare failure.
India kept losing their wickets at regular intervals and ended up being a 34 runs short of the hosts total of 288 runs.
In Hardik’s continued absence, Now, the team management has to find a better balance between bat and ball.
While India coped in the Asia Cup and against West Indies when he was out injured, playing three spinners in sub-continental conditions helped. In overseas conditions, Pandya’s absence restricts the team’s capability with both bat and ball.
Though, Rayudu is free to continue bowling in international cricket, but it depends on the team management, whether they allow him to bowl or not. Kedar Jadhav provides an alternative option in that light, and he could come into the playing eleven at Dinesh Karthik’s expense.
There are chances that the same bowling composition as in the first ODI will be retained, despite Khaleel Ahmed being off-colour. He batted in the nets along side Yuzvendra Chahal on Monday. Out of the three fast bowlers, Mohammed Shami was most impressive in the first match and given the delicate situation of this series, he will certainly not be left out.
However, the expectation will from the top three batsmen to perform good and also to handle pressure as well rotate strike. Kohli averages 73.44 at the Adelaide Oval across all formats, while in ODIs alone, he still averages an impressive 46.66.
Along with Dhoni and Rayudu, he is the third batsman in the top six who didn’t play any domestic cricket while the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was being contested.
Australia didn’t announce their playing eleven for the second ODI either, but it is expected that they will field the same team as in the first match. Their biggest concern at the moment is if Glenn Maxwell is batting at his best position at number seven.
India probable: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Vijay Shankar.
Australia probable: Aron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa. (UNI)