Australia v India Second ODI
Friday January 15, 2:20pm
The one-day series moves to Brisbane where India will be looking to square the ledger, following a five-wicket loss to the Australians at the WACA on Friday.
Despite conceding an imposing total of 3/309 and crashing to 2/21 inside five overs of their reply, the Aussies ultimately chased down the target comfortably off the back of a 242-run partnership between current captain Steve Smith (149) and former skipper George Bailey (112). For Smith it was his sixth consecutive half-century in ODIs at home, while for Bailey the knock cemented his spot in the side with many calling for his omission despite impressive performances in the ODI series against England in September. As expected an inexperienced Australian bowling attack struggled with debutants Joel Paris and Scott Boland enduring a particularly tough time, opening the door for Kane Richardson to force his way into the side. The hosts will also rest all-rounder Mitchell Marsh with John Hastings called in as cover and this will likely result in an elevation up the batting order for Matthew Wade and James Faulkner. David Warner joins Marsh on the sidelines on paternity leave with Usman Khawaja brought in as his replacement.
Although they were soundly beaten there were plenty of positives for the Indians, not least the 207-run partnership shared between Rohit Sharma (171) and Virat Kohli (91). However in order to set a defendable target the visiting batsmen may need to score faster than the 5.47 runs an over Sharma and Kohli produced on a pitch that was ideal for batting. With the ball young left-arm quick Barinder Sran made sure not all debutants had a bad night, taking three wickets and in fact it could’ve been four had George Bailey been correctly adjudged caught behind off the first ball he faced. Of more concern to India will be the return of spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja who between them took only two wickets whilst conceding more than seven runs an over. At the Gabba Jadeja could well be sacrificed for seam-bowling all-rounder Rishi Dhawan.
The Gabba has produced a volatile range of first innings scores in ODI cricket of late, ranging from England’s 8/300 against Australia two years ago (which was chased down) to Australia’s paltry 74 against Sri Lanka in 2013. However Brisbane has been one of the higher-scoring venues during the Big Bash and with the way both sides are set up you’d expect that to continue. It’s also worth noting that India have beaten Australia in two of their past three ODIs in Brisbane.
Despite that record the hosts are sound 1.40 favourites to take a 2-0 series lead, with India 3.40 to cause an upset. Whilst you could do far worse than repeating the trading strategy of the previous match by opposing the Australians if India bat first, the market held firm throughout the Indian innings and is likely to be even more skeptical about the visitors’ chances of defending any kind of score.
However I do expect to see a similar pattern in Brisbane with bat dominating ball and am happy to get with the most prolific batsman across both sides – Steve Smith. As previously mentioned Smith has scored half-centuries in his previous six ODI innings in Australia and stretching back further has made 50 or more in ten of his previous 14 home ODIs. The Australian skipper hasn’t played much ODI cricket at the Gabba but did score a century against India in the test here last summer and has made eight scores in excess of 50 against India across all formats in his past 11 innings against Sunday’s opponents. Furthermore with regular batsmen Warner and Mitch Marsh missing, Smith will likely to take on even more responsibility for building a sizeable total and should be backed to score yet another half-century at 2.20 or better.