The 2019 World Cup is just over 90 days away and it wouldn't be wrong to say that first time in quite a while, India team is under pressure. The series loss against Australia in the shortest format of the game has only made it worse. The five-match ODI series against Australia is their last chance to nail down their combination and take all-important redemption against men-in-yellow.
On the other hand, the year-long ban handed over to Steve Smith and David Warner have shaken Australia's tactics drastically. Australia last won a bilateral series in the year 2016-17 against Pakistan and being five-time World Cup champions, the stat is scary.
And while Australia have five more ODIs against Pakistan in UAE - the series against India important in more ways than one for them too. With this, it should be crackerjack of a series, and teaser is set to start on March 2 when two teams will lock horns in the first of five-match ODI series at Rajiv Gandhi International, Hyderabad. '
India is likely to field the two wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, with Vijay Shankar filling the allrounder's spot in Hardik Pandya's continued absence. If the team management decides to give Rahul as many chances as possible before the World Cup, Ambati Rayudu might have to may way for KL Rahul.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul/Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Carey, who didn't find a place in the playing XI during the T20Is is most likely to return to his position behind the stumps. With Shaun Marsh unavailable, Australia may hand an ODI debut to Ashton Turner.
Probable XI: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey (wk), Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson
Who will win?
Though India lost T20 series against Australia, but even then India is firm favourite to win the first game at Hyderabad. Coincidently, India played their last fifty-over series against the same nation. Finishing 4-1 in their favour, India will surely be a eyeing to emulate the performance.
Pitch and Ground
The pitch is expected to be batting-friendly as the average first innings total in Hyderabad is 286. The team who wins the toss will definitely look to have a bat first and post defendable total as chasing is comparatively difficult. The forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy with the temperature hovering around the 30-degree Celsius mark.
Stadium and Time
The game is scheduled to happen at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad at 1:30 pm (IST).