At the Holkar Stadium, which typically hosts high-scoring matches, India were able to win the first ODI quite comfortably despite missing four first-XI players, including captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
After enduring unusually high temperatures and humidity in Mohali, rain in Indore has lowered the temperature, which will be appreciated by the players from both teams.The performance of Mohammad Shami and Suryakumar Yadav in the game on Friday provided enough positives for India, but there are still a few unanswered problems before the World Cup, which starts on October 5.
Iyer, India’s chosen number 4, has not been able to receive any time in the middle due to various issues. His fitness was questioned at the Asia Cup even though he was returning from a protracted injury layoff.
He was unable to compete in the Asia Cup’s finals due to a back spasm, but his tense 8-ball stint in the center on Friday was cut short by an avoidable run out.
The right-hander will be looking for a ton of runs in the next two games, as that would boost his and his team’s confidence moving into the World Cup.
On the other side, despite a clean bowling performance in his comeback game, Ashwin was unable to really hinder the Australian batters due to the flat track. He struggled to generate much turn, and the opposition could simply avoid his flatter offerings.
If Axar Patel is unable to recover in time, the world champion spinner might still play for India in the World Cup, but the team’s management has higher expectations for the 37-year-old than what he shown on Friday.
It’s also uncertain whether Washington Sundar, another off-spinner, will play. On Sunday, Ashwin might have to warm up the bench if that occurs.
Shardul Thakur, who let up 78 runs in 10 overs while all the other bowlers had economical numbers, would also be hoping to improve on the first game.
Although he does have a penchant for picking up wickets and making a useful cameo with the bat, he has struggled to do it regularly in ODI matches.
Thakur would like to take use of the opportunities he has in the current series because he will only be used sparingly during the World Cup.
Suryakumar Yadav, the best T20 batter in the world, appears to have finally figured out the ODI format after a protracted dry spell.
The management has instructed him to consume 45-50 balls per game, which is plenty for a player of his caliber to have a significant impact on the game. He just accomplished that on Friday with a perfectly timed fifty.
Australia, like India, were without a few of their important players in the first game, including Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell, and Josh Hazlewood. After the game in Mohali, captain Pat Cummins made a suggestion that they might not be ready till the third game on September 27 in Rajkot.
Australia, who earlier this year won the series in India, is in a crucial match on Sunday. With a run a ball of 45, Josh Inglis demonstrated potential, but the middle-order has to be more reliable.
David Warner, a seasoned opener, brought his strong form from South Africa to India and will aim to keep it over the coming several months.
Both Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were guilty of blowing their starts in Mohali, and if Australia is to win the series, a big hundred will be required from one of them.
India compiled 385 against New Zealand in the most recent ODI played here in January, including hundreds from Rohit and Shubman Gill.
Since Rohit won’t be present, count on Gill to perform an encore for the boisterous Indore audience.
India: KL Rahul (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
Australia: Pant Cummins (captain), Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanvir Sangha, Matt Short
(With PTI inputs)