The much-talked about India-Australia ODI series is set to start from Sunday in Chennai, and the five-match ODI contest is expected to be a cracker. There is not much to choose between the two sides, but consistency and grit under pressure will decide the winner.
The pitches in India are considered batting-friendly. With both teams having some ominous batsmen, runs, runs and more runs should be the flavour of the series.
There are some incredibly talented stroke-makers on both sides. And here is a look at three batsmen each from India and Australia, who could make a huge difference in the series.
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The India captain is arguably the best player in the world at present, and his ability to score runs against top opposition makes him special. After a good series against Sri Lanka, Kohli would be keen to lead from the front. Australia will treat him as the prize wicket. So he has to put a price on his wicket. Kohli loves playing against Australia as his 1000-odd runs against the Aussies in the ODIs suggest. Will his willow talk more against Australia?
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Kohli vs Australia (ODIs)
Runs – 1002
HS - 118
100s – 5, 50s - 4
The left-hander loves to take on bowlers in the first few overs, and settle the nerves of his team mates in the dressing room. He has been successful in doing that in the recent past. Shikhar, once he settles down, can be even more prolific. And his boundary hitting skills during the middle overs with ease will make him a dangerous batsman to bowl to.
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Shikhar vs Australia (ODIs)
Runs – 626
HS - 126
100s – 2, 50s – 4
India's top order is one of the best in the business, but what if they fail in some of the ODIs? It is at this juncture where the former India captain Dhoni brings all his experience and plays the game as the situation demands. Dhoni can change gears as and when he wants, and can play the finishers role, later help reach the target with a cool head in the second innings too.
Dhoni vs Australia (ODIs)
Runs – 1255
HS - 139
100s – 2, 50s – 6
The last time, Australia played against India in the Test series earlier in the year, Kohli's bowlers did not have any clue to stop the run flow. He was a run-machine, and the Australia skipper will look forward to deliver the same in the flat tracks of India in the ODI format as well. Though unorthodox, he is a brilliant player of spin bowling, which will give him the confidence to soar once again.
Smith vs India (ODIs)
Runs – 467
HS - 149
100s – 2, 50s – 1
The explosive opener from Australia can tear apart any bowling attack in the world. Australia will depend on his exploits during the field restrictions and pave way for a big total. Warner, once he gets going, will be quite unstoppable and has all the shots in the book to put India on the backfoot. A good series for Warner with the bat could spell disaster for India.
Warner vs India (ODIs)
Runs – 391
HS - 122
100s – 1, 50s – 2
The middle-order batsman is one of the most experienced player when it comes to playing in India. He has been playing in the IPL for quite some time which means that he understands the conditions well. His skipper, Smith, would rely on Maxwell's big-hitting skills, especially against the spinners, to help Australia pile pressure on India with massive scores.
Maxwell vs India (ODIs)
Runs – 460
HS - 96
100s – 0, 50s – 4