When Shane Watson will walk on the lush green field at Sawai Mansingh Stadium Jaipur, it would be a strange situation to be in the yellow jersey. Watson has been the lynchpin for Rajasthan Royals which had made Jaipur their fortress. Another member of the Rajasthan outfit who will be representing Australia is James Faulkner. Will the habit of winning at Jaipur in 2013 continue for the duo albeit this time for the national team?
On October 10, after India chased comprehensive win chasing 201 in the first Twenty20, not many had given Australia a chance. But the scenario has changed a lot since the Pune match where the Australian quicks bagged eight of the ten Indian wickets. Australia will be rejuvenated with an eye of the Jaipur track which might favour their pace bowlers which is the strength of the team.
Stability in batting
Every team can have its off day. With a strong batting line-up, MS Dhoni and co. is expected to put up a much better performance this time around. In the formidable chase of 305 in the previous match, the Men in Blue did look good enough at the start despite the required run-rate inching ahead. However, it’s the dismissals of Suresh Raina followed by Yuvraj Singh which saw the tide turning in favour of the visitors. As Dhoni stated in the press conference, Raina will be given some time at the No 4 slot. With six more matches at hand, the left-hander needs to put a prize on his wicket than stand the risk of losing it going after the bowling.
For Australia though, the aggressiveness of Aaron Finch along with a composed Phil Hughes on the other end bore fruitful results. The duo started off at snail’s pace before going after the bowlers. Finch overall has refreshed the opening conundrum Australia had been facing. He has brought a Virender Sehwag-like boost for the team scoring fast and allowing others to settle. George Bailey in the middle-order makes Australian batting look formidable. He scored 85 in the first game and looks in fine touch.
As we saw in the Champions League, the Jaipur venue is known for being conducive to pacers as well as good enough for a run feast. Both of these are tailor-made for Australia who seem to have blossomed in their batting, while the bowling has been expectedly consistent with Clint McKay and the pace of Mitchell Johnson well co-ordinated by reliable all-rounders.
For India though, Ishant Sharma has been erratic which hasn’t helped the team much. Despite keeping a lid on the run-scoring towards the slog overs, much of the effort was undone in the last three overs giving away 38 runs.
India and Australia have played just once at this venue in 1986 which the Indians won by seven wickets. The team batting second on this pitch has won 11 out of the 18 One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
Batting second on the batsmen-friendly wicket has yielded favourable results. Will this trend continue? Can India make a comeback in the series? An interesting contest is on the cards.
India (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Australia (probable): Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, George Bailey (c), Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.
Time: 13:30 IST I 08:00 GMT
(Abhijit Banareis a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed onTwitterandblog)