2018 was perhaps one of the darkest phases in Australia’s glorious history. The team from Down Under started the year with a win in the Ashes win. However, it was the precursor of the things that were to follow. They suffered a loss in ODI series at home against England before being rocked by the ball-tampering scandal. As the year progressed, things got from bad to worse for Australia.
By the time 2018 ended, Australia managed to win just two ODIs in 12 months. Well, they will have a chance to put the forgettable year behind and start afresh as they take on high-flying India in three-match ODI series. But the hosts will have their task cut out against the formidable opponents and skipper Aaron Finch is well aware of that. Unlike Australia, India enjoyed a brilliant 2018 as they won the ODI series in South Africa, bagged the Asia Cup before beating Windies at home.
But Finch feels formidable India have a weakness too and pointed out that the India batting is heavily reliant on its top-three. Speaking ahead of the first ODI, the opening batsman said his side’s target will be to dismiss India’s top-three batsmen — Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — cheaply.
“Over the last 12 months Virat’s averaged 133, Shikhar 75, and Rohit 50; so there’s a lot of runs and balls faced from their top three. It’s important to get them as early as you can because once they get in, they score fast and they don’t seem to get out too easily,” said Finch on Friday.
With the success of the top-order, the middle-order comprising MS Dhoni has not been tested enough.
“Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Dhoni these guys that can all play their part as well. The top three are very important but you can’t just look at that otherwise there’s someone else that will catch you off-guard and get the job done as well,” said Finch.
Jasprit Bumrah’s absence could also benefit the Aussies. India have rested their star pacer, keeping in mind the World Cup in summer.
When asked about Bumrah’s absence, Finch said:
“Bumrah has played a huge part for their one-day side, or all their sides. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is someone who has had success at all levels as well.
“…The two spinners have played a huge role in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal over the last month as well. There’s no real weak links in their side. They’ve got an extra spin option in the squad with Jadeja, Kedar who can bowl some off-spin,” he said.
The first ODI will get underway on January 12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.