Led by the talented Virat Kohli,India’s batsmen will look to continue their good work from their match against Sri Lanka when they take on Australia in the second and final warm-up game on Tuesday ahead of the Champions Trophy.
The match will also be a dress rehearsal of sorts for India,as skipper MS Dhoni will more or less decide his likely playing XI for the Champions Trophy opener based on performances in the two warm-up games.
It should be a test for Kohli and Co against the Australian seamers,who are more highly rated than their Sri Lankan counterparts. The left-arm seam troika of Mitchell Starc,Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner could prove to be a handful if conditions favour swing bowling.
While Starc is coming back from an injury,Johnson and Faulkner were in fantastic form during the recently concluded IPL,in which both were among the top five wicket-takers.
India will surely take a lot of confidence from the fact that they successfully chased down a mammoth Lankan total of 333 with ease. Kohli plundered 144 while comeback man Dinesh Karthik,by scoring a fine century,staked a strong claim for a place in the eleven. Rohit Sharma,Suresh Raina,Dhoni and the two openers will expect that they get some more time before the real action starts on Thursday.
Dhoni might have also been a touch worried by the performance of his bowlers in the first warm-up game,where Sri Lanka comfortably notched up a 330-plus total. The Edgbaston track suited stroke players in the absence of lateral movement,but the likes of Irfan Pathan,Ishant Sharma,Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar compounded issues with their wayward line and length. Dhoni didn’t use his fastest bowler,Umesh Yadav,against Sri Lanka,but the Vidarbha pacer is expected to play against Australia.
The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin,Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra also struggled for impact. Ashwin and Jadeja,despite not taking any wickets,will have been pleased to go for under six an over in a high-scoring game,and that they outperformed their Lankan counterparts Sachitra Senanayake and Rangana Herath in terms of economy.
For Australia,a good performance in the tournament will give them a much needed boost ahead of their real battle the Ashes. After their 0-4 drubbing at India’s hands a couple of months ago,Michael Clarke will hope that his team produce an improved performance in the 50-over version. Shane Watson’s return to form during the IPL is a positive sign for the Aussies. That he has resumed bowling adds balance to a line-up that includes other talented all-rounders such as Faulkner,Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh.
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