VISAKHAPATNAM: Resilience thy name is Team India. Down in the initial stages of both the innings, India fought back valiantly to post a comfortable five-wicket win in the first ODI against Australia at the Wankhede in Mumbai on Friday night.
After getting out of the cage unscathed, the hosts now eagerly wait to capitalize on the Mumbai gains to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series when the teams clash at the Dr YSR ACA-VDCA Stadium, here on Sunday afternoon.
After comeback man Ravindra Jadeja sent back the dangerous Mitchell Marsh (81), pacers Mohammed Shami (3/17) and Mohammed Siraj (3/29) decimated the Australian middle and lower order to pack the Australians for a lowly 188 after they were strongly placed at 129 for three in the 20th over. The visitors lost the last six wickets for just 19 runs and the Indians had their tails up.
However, the hosts didn’t find things easy as they too fell into a hole and were reeling at 39 for four and when Hardik Pandya fell at the score of 83, the Indians had a task on hand. And who better to guide them out of the mess than Jadeja (45 no) and KL Rahul (75 no).
Sunday, however, will be a different story as the wicket and conditions will be different, but the Indians will have to show the same resilience and never-say-die spirit. Smarting under the loss, the Australians are bound to come back strongly, and the hosts will have to be wary of a backlash.
India will be boosted by the return of skipper Rohit Sharma, who had missed the first game because of a domestic commitment, at the top of the order. It means the team management will have to choose between Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav – neither of them was impressive in the first game. Kishan has failed to make it count after his spectacular double century against Bangladesh and SKY is still to adapt himself to the 50-overs game format.
Hence, only one of them could play on the morrow. However, the rest of the cast is likely to remain the same for this game too.
On the other hand, the Australians have a lot to ponder over as they need to win to keep the series alive. The bowlers were on the coin defending a low score, but the batting left a lot to be desired. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Cameroon Green, Marcus Stoinis need to get into the act quite quickly. It remains to be seen if the Australians will include David Warner, who has been out of action for some time after suffering an injury in the Delhi Test, for the game.
With hardly any rest and practice on hand, the Australians will need to summon their inner strength and execute their game plan well to deny the hosts a win. The Indians, on the other hand, will be keen to have a shot at another whitewash after the Sri Lanka and New Zealand ODI series.
History is also heavily loaded in favour of the Men in Blue. Of the nine ODIs played at this venue, India have won seven of them with the West Indies having won a game in 2013. The India-West Indies ODI in 2018 ended in a tie. On the other hand, the Australians have played a single ODI here, way back in 2010, and lost it by five wickets.