The first of the 3 ODIs between India and Australia is scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), on Friday, and will start at 9.10 am IST (2.40 PM local time) with the toss taking place at 8.40 pm IST. Team India will have to fight off a strong Australian side, led by captain Aaron Finch.

After two months of IPL and a two-week break after it, it is time for international cricket to return in full flow. Amongst the three international series scheduled to begin on November 27, the most high profile clash will witness India up against Australia.

The Australian side, besides having the home advantage, will be coming back to play after a 2-1 win away from home against England, in September. Last time India stepped foot on Australian soil, they won both the Test and ODI series. Albeit, that was a different looking Australian side, struggling to fill the gap created by Steven Smith and David Warner’s suspension.

Like any side, this Indian team to has some new combinations, and some notable omissions as well. The absence of Rohit Sharma has been a constant question, but the cricket board has been sketchy in its explanations, while the player himself has been professing his availability. This is something that could snowball again if the Indian batting doesn’t end up doing well Down Under.

While the rest, no real surprises as the BCCI selectors have stuck to the obvious choices. There will always be questions about why certain other players were not included, but that is always par for the course with cricket in India.

As for the Australians, their trump card would certainly be Mitchell Starc. The rangy left-arm fast has consistently missed out on the IPL and been saved up as the shock and awe weapon, to be unleashed on the rivals, and this time around is the same. Starc makes a telling difference for Australia and adds immense firepower to their bowling.

Aaron Finch leads a side of usual suspects, with a lot of interest also revolving around how Steve Smith and David Warner will add to the Aussie batting.

Playing the IPL and playing a One-day International are two totally different things and the difference will be evident when the first ball is bowled on Friday. Both sides would be primed to start well since that could as well decide the rest of the series, not just the ODIs.


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