Eden Gardens set for round two

Plot:

Virat Kohli and co. continued their winning run they began in Sri Lanka, with a convincing victory in the first ODI in Chennai. The path was perhaps easier down south in the island nation, but a clinical win against the Aussies in Chennai meant they are looking unstoppable now. Australia, on the other hand, would look to come back strongly in the second ODI to level the series and not let it slip away from them any further.

India didn’t get off to a desirable start, lost wickets early on and were under pressure. The new ball was doing the trick for Australia, and the Indian top order played some poor shots to give them the early advantage. Nathan Coulter-Nile looked dangerous with the new ball and got three early wickets. However, the partnership between MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya changed things up for the hosts even though they were five down. Pandya’s blitzkrieg turned the momentum quickly in India’s favour. The ball got softer and Hardik started to deal in sixes. MS Dhoni used his experience and played a mature knock to take India to a strong total. Australia lost the plot completely with the bat and lost wickets at regular intervals. The rain delay didn’t help them either and they faltered apart. They would look to bat well in the second ODI and tackle the Indian spinners to have a chance as they looked clueless on a wicket which suited spin.

India might go with an unchanged side but they might bring in Ravindra Jadeja as his experience will further strengthen the Indian side. Australia might have to tweak their strategies a bit and would want more from their middle order. Will Travis Head open the innings or will Hilton Cartwright gets another go? It remains to be seen. Australia are a side who don’t give up easily and a comeback could be on the cards. Seldom in the history of DOI cricket between these two sides have we had a one-sided series.

Stage:

Eden Gardens, Kolkata:

The Eden Gardens will host the second ODI between India and Australia. This particular venue might still give nightmares to the visitors after the famous follow-on Test in 2001. However, Australia haven’t lost a single ODI at this venue. They have won both their previous ODIs but same was the case in Chennai as the Aussies had won all four previous encounters in Chennai prior to the first ODI. The Kolkata wicket traditionally favours spinners, but it had got a new layover and has now started to help seamers. That might just go in the Aussies’ favour. Having said that India have a very good set of pacers themselves.

Acts:

Yuzvendra Chahal vs Steven Smith

The Australian skipper is known to be a fine player of spin, but he has to tackle the Chahal’s leg-breaks. Australia will bank on him to get a good score and Smith needs to battle it out against Chahal. We can expect him to use his feet very frequently to unsettle the leg spinner.

Kuldeep Yadav vs David Warner

Four out of five! That’s Kuldeep Yadav’s record against David Warner across all formats. The chinaman simply hasn’t let the Aussie dasher to score freely and has totally outfoxed him on most of the occasions. It will be interesting to see if Warner tries to read Yadav or decides to go ballistic from the moment he comes on to bowl.

Rohit Sharma vs Nathan Coulter-Nile:

The Australian seamer was all over India with the new ball in the first ODI. Rohit Sharma would love to give it back to Coulter-Nile in the second ODI. The pacer uses short balls as his surprise weapon and Rohit is a good executor of pull shots when he gets going. Expect a close contest between these two players.


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