Rohit returns as India host Australia at Wankhede

After a successful series against Sri Lanka, India is set to host Australia for a three-match ODI series starting Jan 14 in Mumbai. Post Mumbai, the series will move to Rajkot and Bengaluru.

Here are five talking points ahead of the first fixture.

Rohit Sharma back with a milestone in sight

After being rested for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma will be back to open the innings in the 50-over format. Averaging at 61.73 against the Aussies in this format, Rohit sure loves to bat against the Kangaroos. Not to forget his first ODI double ton came against them in Bengaluru in 2013.

He is also only 56 runs away from becoming the third quickest to 9000 ODI runs. The Mumbai crowd will be hoping for their Hitman to score big when he returns on Tuesday.

India vs Australia - recent history

The last time the Kangaroos played the Men in Blue in India, they came from being 0-2 behind to win the series 3-2. The result of the series, which was played before the 2019 World Cup, will definitely be in the minds of both the teams as they take on each other in the new decade.

Their last meeting was at the 2019 World Cup where India emerged victoriously.

A battle of the pacers

When the relatively new, but fiery Indian pace contingent and their renowned Australian counterparts face each other, the battle is going to be nothing less than epic. Here is a glance of how many wickets the pacers have taken for each team:

Mohammed Shami - 136

Jasprit Bumrah - 103

Shardul Thakur - 08

Navdeep Saini - 02

Mitchell Starc - 172

Pat Cummins - 96

Josh Hazlewood - 72

Kane Richardson - 34

While Bumrah and Shami have 239 wickets between them, Thakur and Saini are promising, intentful players with enough skill to create damage to the opponents. The Australian pacers are, on the other hand, much more experienced.

Starc and Cummins alone share 268 wickets between them, more than all of Indian pacers’ put together (249). Both Hazlewood and Richardson have enough tools in their kitty to infiltrate into their opposition’s batting line-up with reasonable ease.

A clash of the batting stars

Not often do we get to witness two teams, reputed to be the best in the world, battle it out. The Indian batsmen are in incredible form, giving the selectors a happy headache after being exceptional with the bat.

When a team having Rohit, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul is to stack up runs or chase down a total against a team that has batsmen like David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith, scores are expected to soar high.

India’s newest find Shreyas Iyer, ‘keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja all have the capacity to pitch in quick runs if need be, strengthening the Indian batting. Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey have the capacity to do the same for the Kangaroos.

Marnus Labuschagne’s big debut

Within just a year of making his Test debut, Marnus Labuschagne has broken into the top five Test rankings as per the ICC, even ahead of players like Cheteshwar Pujara and David Warner. Hoarding 1459 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 63.43, Labuschagne’s entry into One Day cricket is much anticipated.

Having made a mark in Test cricket in such a short span of time, he will be eager to chart out his ODI career in the same way.

For all those awaiting this clash, one this is definite - with both teams riding high on form, this is going to be a one-of-a-kind treat.

The first ODI between India and Australia will be played at Wankhede at 1.30pm IST on 14th January 2020.