In-form India eye series win against struggling Australia


India will be looking to complete its dominance over Australia across formats in the ongoing cricket bilateral series when it takes on the visitor in the T20I here at the Barsapara Stadium on Tuesday.

The Assam Cricket Association-owned stadium, which will be making its international debut, presents a perfect setting for the host to accomplish a win and seal the three-match series.

India coasted to its seventh successive T20I win at Ranchi a couple of days ago, downing the Australians by nine wickets in a rain-truncated match.

The Duckworth-Lewis System coming into the fore here again is a strong possibility as overcast conditions and occasional drizzles prevailed for most of Monday.

Australia will have to do something different to upset the rhythm of the host if it wants to stay afloat in the T20I series.

History also favours India as it enjoys a 10-4 advantage in the head-to-head count between the teams.

The contest between two of the most potent teams in world cricket has mostly been lopsided with India overpowering Australia 4-1 in the ODI segment.

While Australia could go through its practice session in the morning, the host had to forego its because of rains. Weather is unlikely to improve in a day with more rains forecast on Tuesday.

Key factor

The key element of India’s dominance in the limited-over format has been the effectiveness of wrist spin by left-arm chinman bowler Kuldeep Yadav and the leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Handling the former, who has the ability to turn the ball both ways, has been the key concern for the visitors.

Kohli has, time and again, praised Kuldeep’s ability to deceive any batsman. Chahal has complemented Kuldeep really well.

Despite a number of their batsmen playing in the IPL, Australia has struggled against the guile of the India’s new spin pair.

Added to this is the discipline and control of the new-ball bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvneshwar’s versatility in swing bowling is well established and when it is combined with Bumrah’s ability to fire yorkers, the opposition often finds itself in a tight spot.

Balanced batting

The Indian batting has also been fairly balanced with Kohli, Rohit Sharma, M.S. Dhoni, Manish Pandey and all-rounder Hardik Pandya being fairly consistent.

In the absence of injured captain Steve Smith, the Australians will have to regroup under his deputy, Warner.

Captaining in place of Smith, who last played in the shortest format in the 2016 World T20, Warner has a good record in the T20Is, winning six games before losing the last one against India. Besides Warner, his opening partner Aaron Finch is the mainstay in the Australian line-up who has devised a way to tackle the Indian bowling with a fair degree of success.

But what has bothered the visitors is the middle order where the likes of Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Daniel Christian and even wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine have not been able to do much.

The teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Axar Patel.

Australia: David Warner (capt.), Dan Christian, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (wk), Jason Behrendorff , Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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