In-form India look to extend dominance over Oz in T20 Internationals
Ranchi: After thrashing Australia 4-1 in the five-match One-day International (ODI) series, a confident India will aim to extend their dominance over the Kangaroos in the three-match T20 International series starting here on Saturday.
With a staggering 9-4 head-to-head record in favour of the hosts, and a 3-0 clean sweep in their previous meeting in Australia in January last year, India definitely look a formidable unit going into Saturday's encounter at the Jharkhand Cricket Association (JCA) International Stadium here.
India will also be bolstered by the return of old war horses like Ashish Nehra, Dinesh Karthik and opener Shikhar Dhawan against a side with whom they have lost only once out of the five series played so far.
The rise of all-rounder Hardik Pandya and the guile of the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have made life difficult for Australia in the one-day series.
The return of the 38-year-old Nehra will be a key factor for India as the left-arm pacer would add variety to the pace attack of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Dhawan, who had opted out of the five-match ODI series, is back after attending to his ill wife, while Lokesh Rahul's inclusion ahead of an in-form Ajinkya Rahane will also add to the stiff competition in the top order.
His return from a shoulder injury has not been up to the mark as he did not get a chance in the ODI series but Rahul has been retained for the T20I series and he would look to make it count.
Australia, on the other hand will aim to gain some confidence before heading back to play the Ashes series in a month's time.
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But their over dependence on the duo of skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner have proved fatal during the 50-over series.
The tourists will hope for a better show from their middle order, including the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head, who failed to click as a unit during the ODIs.
Uncapped left-arm speedster Jason Behrendorff, along with wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine, all-rounders Moises Henriques and Dan Christian, are the new additions in Australia's T20I squad.
Australia's success in the series will also depend on their pace bowling department comprising of the likes of Patrick Cummins, Behrendorff, Kane Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.
Australia: Steve Smith (Captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (WK), Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.