India will look to build on their 1-0 lead in the five-match One-day International (ODI) series when they take on Australia in the 2nd ODI in Nagpur on Tuesday. India's middle-order came to rescue in the first ODI, courtesy a 141-run unbeaten stand between MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, who bailed India out from a spot of bother when they were reduced to 99/4. Ravindra Jadeja made a decent comeback into the playing XI as he bowled an economical spell. All-rounder Vijay Shankar who has had decent outings might get another game before Rishabh Pant and Bhuvneshwar Kumar join the squad for the remaining three ODIs. Following the Nagpur ODI, the Indian think-tank will be left with three ODIs to experiment the playing XI ahead of the Cricket World Cup that begins on May 30.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan failed in Hyderabad but he is likely to get another game as chances of KL Rahul coming in for him appear bleak. However, if given a chance Rahul will be more than willing to make optimum use of. Vice-captain Rohit Sharma can take any attack to cleaners on his day and the Aussies would be wary of him and skipper Virat Kohli, who scored 44 on Saturday night.
Both Rohit and Kohli are always hungry for runs and if the duo fires in unison at the VCA stadium, then the visitors are in for a hard time.
Ambati Rayudu failed in the first game but knowing his abilities and the backing he has from the team management, his place in the playing XI is not in danger. Pint-sized Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav, who steered the team home with an unbeaten 81 on Saturday, has more or less sealed the number six position.
He is also useful with his right-arm off-breaks, making him more valuable to the side. On Saturday, it would have been pleasing for coach Ravi Shastri to see that 37-year-old Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting form. His unbeaten 59 proved that his finishing skills are not on the wane.
Dhoni and Jadhav now form a vital cog in India's middle order, especially when the top order fails. Dhoni has been in the prime of late form and every good outing will only boost his confidence ahead of the World Cup. The Indian team could bring in the young Rishabh Pant in place of all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who had an off day with the ball on Saturday.
India's bowling, spearheaded by death-overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah, has been impeccable and it reflected in the first ODI, when he made Aussies dance to his tunes. Along with the Gujarat pacer, Mohammed Shami is proving to be a lethal weapon in Kohli's armoury. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (2-46 in the first ODI) has been leading the spin attack and is effective in the middle overs.
But, it will be interesting to see if Ravindra Jadeja, who remained wicket-less in his miserly effort, gets another chance or Yuzvendra Chahal comes back to the playing XI. Australia, on the other hand, will need to pull one back to ensure that the hosts do not double their advantage early in the series. For their coach Justin Langer, out of form skipper, Aaron Finch would be a definite concern.
Finch, who had scores of 0 and 8 in the preceding T20 series, continued his bad run in the first ODI. The 32-year old would hope for change of fortunes and get some runs under his belt on Tuesday. Other batsmen like opener Usman Khawaja, the flamboyant Glenn Maxwell, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, threw their wickets away after getting their eye in and would be aiming for bigger scores.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, Siddarth Kaul, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja.
Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), D'Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Usman Khawaja, Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb (wk), Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon.
(With PTI inputs)