India looks to consolidate at ‘happy hunting ground’


Dhoni has been in prime form and every good outing will only boost his confidence ahead of the World Cup.

A venue built on the outskirts of the city before the ICC World Cup 2011 has turned out to be a happy hunting ground for the home team against Australia.

India has lost a match each to Sri Lanka and South Africa, but has a great record against Australian teams — led by Ricky Ponting, George Bailey and Steve Smith.

And, the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have plenty of reasons to feel good here.

Happy memories

More than a decade ago, Dhoni in his nascent years as captain, showed the way for his team with a sparkling 107-ball 124 with nine 4s and three 6s.

Four years later, Shane Watson (102) and Bailey (156) flogged the home team attack, but Dhawan (100) and Kohli (115 not out), upstaged their rivals for India to win by six wickets.

And, almost one-and-a-half years ago, Rohit unleashed a classic 125 against Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa.

Hence, with its envious record at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, the home team should start the second ODI of this five-match series with a great degree of confidence.

After being outsmarted by the brilliance of Glenn Maxwell in the Twenty20 series, the home team addressed the task on hand with poise and won the first ODI in Hyderabad.

With the World Cup around the corner, the National selectors and the team management have been able to identify players for the big campaign in England well ahead of time.

Clearly they would have liked to see more of Hardik Pandya, but his lower back flared up again after his return for the short series in New Zealand and the Baroda all-rounder’s place was taken by Ravindra Jadeja.

Medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will replace Siddharth Kaul in the last three ODIs at Ranchi, Mohali and New Delhi.

One of the bright aspects of the win in Hyderabad was the controlled aggression shown by Kedar Jadhav, whose unconquered 81 won him the Man-of-the-Match award.

The Maharashtra right-hander did not get to bat 19 times in the 55 matches he has played since his debut in 2014, but has risen to the occasion making 30 plus scores nine times batting at 5, 6 and 7 and the team acknowledges the value he brings.

Not taking it easy

While India has dominated home ODI matches against Australia since its win here some six years ago, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav doesn’t read too much into it.

“Every game is a new game. It’s not like you keep beating them so it will be easy. Australia’s bowling and batting are good. So the game (on Tuesday) will be good and challenging,” he said.

Shuan Marsh likely in playing XI

Left-hander Shaun Marsh is most likely to figure in the Australian XI in the second ODI here on Tuesday.

Marsh has scored 508 runs in 11 matches with two centuries and three half-centuries against India.

In the recent ODI series in Australia, he scored 54 in Sydney, 131 in Adelaide and 39 in Melbourne. Marsh is likely to replace Ashton Turner.

Skipper Aaron Finch, who has not had a good run in recent ODIs, seems to have spoken to Marsh and the need for him to return to the playing XI.

Marsh arrived late in Hyderabad and hence was not available for selection.

The teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul and K.L. Rahul.

Australia: Aaron Finch (Capt.), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Alex Carey, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Nathan Lyon.

Match starts at 1:30 p.m.


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