The Indian cricket team is building tremendous momentum for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which is less than 100 days away. They are riding high on the confidence which they have gained having won a bilateral series in Australia for the first time and in New Zealand after 10 years. The upcoming series against Australia, which is their last bilateral encounter before the World Cup in England, gives them a chance to finalise the team composition and potentially the 11 players who might be a regular in the games in England. On paper, India are all set to continue their domination of Australia in this series for a variety of reasons.
The main factor is the current form of the Indian cricket team. The top order batsmen are in superb form, the middle order has been shored up with MS Dhoni coming back into form. On Indian conditions, the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be potent while the bowling unit of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be deadly. The absence of Hardik Pandya can upset the balance but India have plenty of depth.
Australia are currently fighting against history and their own poor form in the ODI format. They have not won a series in India since 2009 and in 13 ODIs since that period, they have won just three matches in India. Australia has not won a bilateral ODI series for over two years now, with their last win coming in 2017 at home in Pakistan. Overseas, they have not won an ODI bilateral series since beating England 3-2 in England in 2015. Australia’s own form against India has resulted in loss of confidence, having lost three consecutive bilateral series since 2017, including their first one at home.
The prime factor of Australia’s poor showing against India in recent ODIs has been the inability of the bowlers to function as a unit. In the last eight ODIs, only one Australian bowler has taken a four-wicket haul and that was Jhye Richardson who took 4/26 in the Sydney ODI which Australia won. In their only win in India in the 2017 series, Kane Richardson took three wickets to help them secure a narrow 21-run win.
No other Australian bowler has come close. Even the batting has been hampered by the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner. In the last two series in 2017 and 2019, only three Australian batsmen, Aaron Finch, Warner and Shaun Marsh scored centuries. The Australian batting is a total contrast to the Indian batting. There are not many contributions from the top order and the middle order contributed sporadically in both the series.
Australia’s lack of penetration in the bowling, lack of experience in the batting is the prime reason why India’s dominance is all set to continue.