India will look to come out all guns blazing at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot when they take on Australia in the second ODI of the three-match series.
The Men in Blue will step into the game 0-1 down after Australia registered a 10-wicket win in the lung-opener at Mumbai, courtesy David Warner and Aaron Finch, who hit unbeaten hundreds. This also means that the Rajkot ODI is a must-win contest for India if they want to stay alive in the series.
In a bid to field all three in-form players — Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul — Virat Kohli dropped himself down the order but the plan backfired as he was unable to convert his start. The skipper’s move to give up his No 3 position also drew flak from former cricketers.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant was on Wednesday ruled out of India's second ODI as the young wicketkeeper-batsman has not yet recovered from the concussion he suffered during the series-opener.
Pant's absence could pave the way for the inclusion of Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey, who made optimum use of the opportunity that he got in the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune. It would also be interesting to see which among the experienced Kedar Jadhav and rookie Shivam Dube makes the squad.
Come the second ODI, it will be interesting to see the batting order India choose to go with.
The bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah had a forgettable outing at the Wankhede and they would be more than eager to make a strong comeback and prove their mettle.
It would be interesting to see whether India play Delhi speedster Navdeep Saini or persist with Shardul Thakur, who gave away 43 runs in Mumbai. Ravindra Jadeja looks a certainty and so the choice would be between chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who conceded 55 runs in the first ODI and Yuzvendra Chahal as the lead spinner.
The hosts, on the other hand, will be mighty pleased after an all-round performance and look to register back to back series wins in India, a rare feat for any visiting team.
The track at Rajkot is expected to be a batting paradise and India can draw confidence from the home series against New Zealand in 2017, when they won 2-1 after losing the opener, co-incidentally in Mumbai.
According to Accuweather, the weather in Rajkot on Friday is expected to feature sunshine with a bit of cloud cover during the afternoon. As the match progresses, the weather is expected to be hazy. However, no rain disturbance is expected. The temperature is expected to float between 25 degrees, the maximum, and 10 degrees minimum.
With inputs from PTI
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