IN­DIA, AUS­TRALIA BE­GIN RACE FOR TOP SPOT IN ODI RANK­INGS

With an eye on the top spot in ODI rank­ings, In­dia and Aus­tralia en­ter a five-match ODI se­ries on Sun­day. HT looks at the play­ers who will be key for their re­spec­tive teams.

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE -

In­dia face Aus­tralia in a five-match ODI se­ries be­gin­ning to­day. Apart from pro­vid­ing a plat­form to teams to try out com­bi­na­tions in the lead up to the World Cup two years later, the se­ries of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to stake claim for the top place in ODI rank­ings. South Africa lead the ta­ble with 119 points while In­dia and Aus­tralia are locked at 117. A con­vinc­ing win for ei­ther will leapfrog them to the top spot.

Watch it Live on Star Sports 1, 1.30 pm

KOHLI v SMITH

Vi­rat Kohli is av­er­ag­ing a stag­ger­ing 92.45 af­ter 18 ODIs this year, and the Steve Smith-led Aus­tralia face a mon­u­men­tal task against the In­dia cap­tain in the up­com­ing se­ries. Smith will have to get into the same mode that he was in the Test se­ries ear­lier this year in or­der to stop the In­dian jug­ger­naut.

RO­HIT v WARNER

Ro­hit Sharma is av­er­ag­ing over 75 in ODIs this year, and the se­ries presents him with an­other op­por­tu­nity to im­prove fur­ther. David Warner is com­ing off a suc­cess­ful tour of Bangladesh with two fab­u­lous hun­dreds, and the onus will be on him to pro­vide brisk starts in ab­sence of Aaron Finch.

PANDEY v HEAD

It is a bat­tle be­tween play­ers aim­ing to ce­ment their spots. While Man­ish Pandey has shown prom­ise at No 4 at a time when In­dia are weigh­ing op­tions, Aus­tralia have tried sev­eral bats­men so far. Travis Head or Peter Hand­scomb will be tested at No 4. Head may get in ahead of Hand­scomb with his spin bowl­ing skills.

PANDYA v MAXWELL

Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell are ag­gres­sive stroke-play­ers, and have shown great form in re­cent matches. As far as bowl­ing is con­cerned, medium-pacer Pandya may come across as a bet­ter wicket-tak­ing op­tion than off-spin­ner Maxwell, who has not bowled a great deal in ODIs of late.

UMESH v CUM­MINS

Umesh Ya­dav and Pat Cum­mins can change the course of games with early break­throughs. Umesh, who is com­ing off a break, has been a con­sis­tent per­former for In­dia in this for­mat. On the other hand, Cum­mins would aim to make the most of the ab­sence of Mitchell Starc and Josh Ha­zle­wood.

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