India vs Australia: Expert ODI Previews

India vs Australia marks a major test for the Aussies, travelling to India for a three-game ODI series after getting their summer started with convincing series wins over Pakistan and New Zealand.

India will be looking to avenge their series defeat to Australia just under a year ago when the Aussies won the last three games to claim a 3-2 victory in India.

Check out the Betfair Hub for all the previews on this summer of cricket. For value odds, head to the Betfair Exchange.


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Sunday January 19th, 7.00pm AEDT, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

It’s all to play for as India and Australia head to Bangalore for the third and final ODI on Sunday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

India

India squared the series in Rajkot with a highly-charged 36-run victory. Having been sent into bat there was a clear change of strategy from the hosts who adopted a more aggressive approach from the onset, reaching 81 without loss in the 14th over when Rohit Sharma (42 off 44 balls) departed.

The slack was then taken up by Rohit’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli who combined for 103 off 91 balls before Dhawan was dismissed perilously short of a ton for 96 off 90 balls, whilst Kohli was undone shortly after for 78 off 76 deliveries. Power at the death has so often been a problem for the Indians of late but Lokesh Rahul thrived in an unfamiliar role at number five, smashing 80 off just 52 balls to take the home side to an imposing 6/340 from their 50 overs.

However there certainly were times throughout the chase when Australia looked capable or even likely of mowing down the considerable target, specifically at 1/82 after 15 overs and at 2/178 in the 31st over, however spin played a key role with Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav combining for figures of 4/123 off 20 overs, halting the Aussies’ momentum each time they looked like moving ahead in the game.

Mohammad Shami claimed wickets at either end of the innings to finish with 3/77 off his ten overs but arguably the most important spell came from fellow new-ball bowler Jasprit Bumrah who conceded only 32 off 9.1 overs in a match where no one else managed an economy rate under five. India finally look to found their ideal combination, though there is some doubt over Rohit who suffered a shoulder complaint whilst fielding at Rajkot.

Australia

It was an honourable display from Australia but ultimately they were outgunned on a pitch which favoured the batsmen equally across both innings resulting from a lack of dew under lights. The Aussie bowlers couldn’t maintain the control they asserted in Mumbai with spearhead Mitchell Starc finishing with the unflattering figures of 0/78 off ten overs, while Kane Richardson (2/73 off ten overs) and Ashton Agar (0/63 off eight overs) are no certainties to feature in this match after being taken to task by the Indian batsmen in Rajkot.

On the flipside Adam Zampa continued his excellent record in this country, claiming 3/50 off ten overs including the dismissal of Kohli for the fifth time in ODIs. Captain Aaron Finch was another player who failed to dominate, struggling against Bumrah early on before being stumped for 33 off 48 balls, but the prolific pair of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne certainly had no issues at the crease, the latter in his ODI innings compiling a fine 46 off 47 balls, while Smith came closest to breaking the three-figure mark with a superb 98 off 102 balls.

The former captain’s dismissal was probably the turning point in the chase with none of the visitors’ middle or lower order players able to make the sort of impact than Rahul did, though the likes of Alex Carey (18 off 17 balls) and Ashton Agar (25  off 25 balls) showed fleeting promise.

It would come as no surprise to see Josh Hazlewood drafted in for the decider, most likely in place of Richardson, however Agar may be spared the axe as there are serious question marks over whether Darcy Short can contribute enough with the ball.

M Chinnaswamy Stadium

The Chinnaswamy is well renowned as a high-scoring ground in the IPL and figures in ODI cricket largely back that up with three of the past four first innings totals breaching 320. The hosts will be eager for Rohit to recover given he has scores of 44, 209 and 65 here, the latter two coming against Australia.

Key Stats

  • India have won four of their past five ODI series deciders at home.
  • India have lost only one of their past seven ODIs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
  • Australia have won only two of their past six series’ away from home.
  • Australia have won four of their past five ODIs in India.
  • Australia have won only two of their past six ODIs against India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium

The Verdict

Prices have remained relatively stable with India marginally shorter favourites than they were at Rajkot, but the market refusing to rule out another Australian surprise.

It was an ominous batting performance from India, perhaps even more so because the innings wasn’t dominated by a spectacular individual effort from either Rohit or Kohli but featured a series of important contributions, including arguably the most vital coming from the middle-order.

There are still some concerns over the bowling attack with one pace spot looking vulnerable, however there’s little doubt that the home side possess more quality in the slow bowling department, while Bumrah also seems to have found his range after an indifferent comeback in the series opener.

There’s still plenty to like about this Australian team and their performance over the first two games, however Friday’s match suggested their bowling attack is not as infallible as we thought it might be – granted Starc is allowed one bad game, but there are weaknesses that were well hidden in Mumbai that were brutally exposed in Rajkot. As far as their batting is concerned the top-order looks reliable, but much like their opponents there appears to be a soft underbelly in the middle-order that hasn’t yet been addressed and remains a concern going into the series decider.

Overall I think there’s a pinch of value about the hosts’ pre-match price but if they are to get on top with either bat or ball I can definitely see the market adjusting more dramatically which makes me keen to get with them from the off.

Some impressive fight from Australia in the last match as well as their results on these shores in recent times dictates that I won’t hold the position all the way through but will look to trade out and lock in profit on either side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK-To-LAY – India at 1.74 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 1.33 or bigger).

Friday January 17th, 7.00pm AEDT, Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium

After stunning the hosts in the opener in Mumbai, Australia will be looking to secure a remarkable series win against India with victory in the second ODI at Rajkot on Friday.

India

Despite losing prolific opener Rohit Sharma (10 off 15 balls) early, there were no initial signs that India were in for a thrashing when they made their way to 1/134 after 27 overs courtesy of a measured 121-run stand between powerful left-hander Shikhar Dhawan (74 off 91 balls) and the in-form Lokesh Rahul (47 off 61 balls).

However, from that point, their innings was curbed by a series of starts with the likes of Rishabh Pant (28 off 33 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (25 off 32 balls) dismissed just as they were looking to accelerate and although the tail refused to roll over the hosts were still bowled out for an underwhelming 255.

That total was made to look all the more inferior as the Australians ran it down without the loss of a single wicket. Upon return from injury, spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was bit rusty, conceding 50 off his seven overs, though fellow paceman Shardul Thakur copped the worst of the punishment with his five overs costing 43.

Although spinners Kuldeep Yadav (0/55 off ten overs) and Jadeja (0/41 off eight overs) were more economical they still conceded a combined ten boundaries, which was the same number leaked by Mohammad Shami (0/58 off 7.4 overs). Thakur is most in danger of losing his spot with Navdeep Saini waiting in the wings, though the same batting unit is likely to be given another chance in Rajkot.

Australia

Despite a long absence from ODI cricket, Australia hit the ground running, keeping things tight initially then maintaining their composure when their opponents put together a big partnership. The World Cup’s leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc was again immense, capturing 3/56 off ten overs, while fellow quick Pat Cummins showed no signs of a marathon test summer with 2/44 off his full allotment.

It was believed that the Aussie spinners would be targeted but Adam Zampa (1/53 off ten overs) and Ashton Agar (1/56 off ten overs) held their own, picking up the key scalps of Virat Kohli and Rahul respectively.

However, after a determined effort in the field, even the most optimistic Australian fan couldn’t have expected the visitors to mow down the target so comfortably. David Warner became the fastest Australian to 5000 ODI runs with a blistering 128 not out off 128 balls, while captain Aaron Finch shook off an indifferent start to the BBL with an unbeaten 110 from 114 deliveries to put the home side to the sword.

On debut Marnus Labuschagne wasn’t even required to come to the crease, however, there is no reason why Australia will make any changes to a winning XI with Kane Richardson (2/43 off 9.1 overs) also impressing after being surprisingly chosen ahead of Josh Hazlewood.

Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium

The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot is another ground that has not hosted an ODI for a long time with the last one coming in 2015, though it’s worth noting that India have never won a 50-over fixture here. The same, however, cannot be said in T20I cricket as last November the hosts wrapped up a straight-forward eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh here with Rohit starring at the top of the order.

Key Stats

  • India have never lost five consecutive ODIs at home against Australia.
  • India have never won an ODI at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
  • Australia haven’t won consecutive ODI series’ in India since 2009.
  • Rohit Sharma is averaging 68.44 form his last 17 ODI innings.
  • Rohit Sharma has top-scored in six of his past 17 ODI innings.

The Verdict

Not surprisingly, India’s price has drifted from the first match, though they remain favourites to square the series against a rampaging Australian side.

So was that performance an aberration or more of what we should expect from this Indian side? They have been very strong in this format, particularly at home, over a long period and their match-winners will be keen to atone for an ordinary effort at the Wankhede Stadium.

Usually we would be very excited to see this sort of price about the hosts against just about anyone at home, however, the lack of penetration from their bowling attack means I simply cannot be with them.

However, this also doesn’t appear to be the price to be lumping on the visitors after one, albeit very impressive, victory. There’s no doubt their bowling attack showed plenty of nous and character, however, you get the feeling the Indian batsmen will adopt a more aggressive approach in Rajkot, especially against the slower bowlers. Also, as impressive as the openers were, the new-look middle-order remains untested so, for now, we’ll put the match odds to one side.

Instead, we’ll focus on India’s run-machine at the top of the order who’s been dominating this format in recent times. In his last 17 ODI innings Rohit Sharma is averaging an outrageous 68.44 with four fifties and six hundreds, top-scoring on six occasions.

His record against Australia is immense, averaging over 60, and, as we touched on, he dominated the last international he played at this ground, belting 85 off just 43 balls in a man of the match performance, so we think he’s well-placed to go big again in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rohit Sharma Top India Batsman at 3.75 or bigger for 1 unit.

Tuesday January 14th, 7.00pm AEDT, Wankhede Stadium

In a break from tradition Australia travel to India for the first of a three match ODI series, starting off on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

India

The hosts recently completed a 2-1 series victory over the West Indies at home following on from a 2-0 result against the same side in the Caribbean. In the home series, prolific opener Rohit Sharma was almost unstoppable, racking up 258 runs at an average of 86.00 and strike rate of 100.38, combining beautifully with fellow opener Lokesh Rahul who himself compiled 185 runs at an average of 61.66.

Conversely, captain Virat Kohli was uncharacteristically quiet, averaging only 29.66 although his 85 in the series decider underpinned India’s chase. There are still places to be won in India’s middle-order, though Shreyas Iyer put his best foot forward against the Windies with two half-centuries, while Kedar Jadhav will hope to keep Manish Pandey out of the starting XI.

There is mixed news as far as the bowling attack is concerned with paceman Deepak Chahar ruled out with a stress fracture of the back, however, that is more than offset by the return of spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, while Navdeep Saini keeps his place in the squad after an impressive debut against the Calypso Kings.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya is another absentee due to injury but otherwise the pace stocks look strong with Mohammad Shami and Shardul Thakur supported by spin bowlers Ravi Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav who will all play a key role in home conditions.

Those home conditions have served India very well, winning 12 of their past 14 series in familiar climes, though one of the losses did come against Australia.

Australia

For Australia, it is their first foray back into ODI cricket since the World Cup and they have made a number of notable changes in order to refresh the side who, like their opponents, were knocked out at the semi-final stage.

Powerful all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have been omitted despite strong form in the BBL, while stylish batsman Usman Khawaja has also been left out, becoming a causality of the logjam at the top of the order. The same could be said of Shaun Marsh whose international days looked numbered, while pace-bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile has been dropped despite being the top wicket-taker in the Marsh Cup. Fellow quick Jason Behrendorff has succumbed to injury, while veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon may well have played his last ODI.

Marnus Labuschagne headlines the inclusions after a golden test summer with the bat, while powerful sandgroper Ashton Turner has been recalled after being controversially left out of the World Cup squad. Peter Handscomb takes one of the middle-order spots available, while Ashton Agar has been selected to play a spin-bowling all-rounder role. Josh Hazlewood, another contentious World Cup omission, returns following a hamstring injury, while an untimely side strain has scuppered a recall for Sean Abbott, instead replaced by Darcy Short who could be set for an unfamiliar role in the lower-order.

For all the changes the visitors will still rely heavily on the likes of Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc who will all need to make match-winning contributions if the Aussies are to come away with a series win.

Wankhede Stadium

India have won four of their past six ODIs at the Wankhede, though they haven’t played an ODI there since 2017. In what may serve as a more useful guide the hosts racked up a mammoth 3/240 in a T20I against the West Indies in December so we should expect planet of runs in this match.

Key Stats

  • India have won 12 of their past 14 home ODI series.
  • Australia have won only two of their past seven away ODI series.
  • India have won 11 of their past 14 ODIs.
  • Australia have won only three of their past eight ODIs against India.
  • India have won four of their past six ODIs at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Verdict

India are solid, if not overwhelming, favourites to go 1-0 up in the series with the market refusing to write off a new-look Australian side.

Whilst they are far from a faultless outfit, I’m a little bemused at how the hosts aren’t shorter to start the series here. They have proven performers via the likes of Rohit, Kohli, Jadeja and Shami, while the return of Bumrah, the number one ranked ODI bowler in the world, is an enormous boost. Moreover, they have had recent experience of playing white ball cricket with performances that were relatively convincing against the dangerous West Indies.

Conversely, the Aussies haven’t played an ODI since the World Cup and their early-season T20I fixtures against Sri Lanka and Pakistan provided little competition. It is also reasonable to expect that with so many changes it will take time for new combinations to click and although there is clearly an eye to the future it’s hard not to surmise that they’ve failed to pick their strongest squad here.

A rousing series victory in India just prior to the World Cup feels more like an aberration, given a long-term trend of inconsistency in this format and whilst like their opponents they can call on a handful of reliable troops, I do think that the market is giving them too much credit.

I just can’t overlook India here, especially in conditions where bulk runs are likely to be required and with a team better prepared to hit the ground running.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – India at 1.65 or bigger for 2 units.

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