The state of Australian cricket is at an all-time low following a 2-1 drubbing at the hands of India in the Test series. The Aussies struggled with bat and ball from Adelaide through to Sydney, but that isn’t to say they can’t reclaim some of the bragging rights in the One Day Series.
A shake up was necessary if Australia are to stand any chance of bouncing back from their 2-1 ODI loss to South Africa earlier in the Summer, and the selectors have done just that by naming only six players from the loss against the Proteas.
With the World Cup just six-months around the corner, this is a crucial time in Australian cricket, and with consistent batting proving hard to come by, the green and gold desperately need someone to step up and take charge.
As far as the market goes, it comes as no surprise to see the Indians as the heavy favourites ahead of the first match at the SCG. As always, we’ve analysed everything you need to know, and our complete Australia vs. India 1st ODI Preview can be seen below.
Best Bet: Ravindra Jadeja Top Wicket Taker @ $4.50
The short odds on offer for India leave little value, and considering Australia’s woes with the bat, it’s hard to back the Aussies straight-up.
Ravi Jadeja is a veteran all-rounder with plenty of experience in One-Day matches. The lefty took four wickets against the West Indies earlier in November, and as we saw during the Sydney Test, he should be well-suited to the slow SCG wicket.
The Australians will be relying on Aaron Finch in this series to provide the bulk share of runs after omitting Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short. Usman Khawaja returns to the side, but since he hasn’t played in an ODI match since 2017, it’s hard to know what kind of form he’ll be in with the white ball.
The jury is still out on the rest of Australia’s order, and after India showed plenty of aggressiveness opting to bowl first in the Test match, they should feel comfortable with a similar approach on Saturday. Opposing teams are bowling close to 25 overs of spin against the Aussies, making Jadeja a nice bet to claim a bag of wickets.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma @ $8.00
The Indian vice-captain should be well-rested for the start of the ODI series after missing the Sydney Test. That isn’t to say the 31-year-old is out of form however, as Sharma scored a handy unbeaten 63-runs in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test.
Averaging close to 48-runs with the bat, Sharma’s been an ODI animal throughout his 11-year career, and just in case you’d forgotten, he came one-run shy of a ton in Sydney back in 2016. In his last two ODI games late last year, Sharma put up 162 vs. the West Indies in Mumbai and another unbeaten 63 in Thriuvananthapuram. With Australia dropping Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for a spell, Sharma could have everything his own way.
Player Performance: Glenn Maxwell Over 37.5 Total Runs @ $1.87
Maxwell, along with Finch, Alex Carey, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, is one of six remaining players left over from the ODI series against South Africa. The fact Maxwell has been included in the side should give Australia half a chance, especially considering his red hot form of late for the Renegades in the Big Bash.
You can’t compare domestic cricket to ODI’s, but Maxwell has smacked at least 40-runs twice this season for Melbourne. He looked phenomenal at the crease against the Thunder on Saturday, and since Maxwell has also averaged 32-runs in his 87 ODI matches, this looks like a nice bet for him to dig in in middle order.
Virat Kohli To Score 50 @ $2.00
Forget man of the match, Virat Kohli was the man of the series for India in the Test series. His century in Perth and his 82-run effort in Melbourne was one of many reasons the visitors held on to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and as his ODI average of close to 60-runs suggests, Kohli should punish the Aussies one more time.
Funnily enough, in his three ODI matches in Sydney, Kohli’s highest total is 21. You’d be foolish to back against the world’s No.1 ranked batsman though, and with $2.00 on offer, 50-runs should be child’s play.