It will be a test for Kohli and Co. against Australian seamers
Led by the talented M S Dhoni, the Indian batsmen will look to continue the good work done against Sri Lanka, as 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 the ‘Men in Blue’ as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will more or less decide on his likely playing XI based on the performance of the two warm-up games. It will be a test for Kohli and Co. against Australian seamers who are relatively better than the Lankans. 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 in the recent IPL in which both were among the top five wicket-takers.
Team India would surely take a lot of confidence from the fact that it successfully chased down a mammoth Lankan total of 333 with consummate ease. Kohli plundered 144 while comeback man Dinesh Karthik, by scoring a fine century, staked a strong claim for a place in the playing XI. What might be a worrying factor for Dhoni is the performance of ‘IPL specialist’ Rohit Sharma. Despite enjoying a fine IPL, Rohit as usual flattered to deceive in India colours as he was out in a pathetic fashion during the first warm-up game.
Non-performance for India is nothing new with Rohit but it will be interesting to see how long Dhoni carries the Mumbaikar based purely on his talent. Suresh Raina, Dhoni and the two openers would expect that they get some more time before the real action starts on Thursday. Dhoni will also be a touch worried with the performance of his bowlers in the first warm-up game.
The Sri Lankan batsmen seemingly didn’t do anything special yet notched up a score in excess of 325. Agreed that 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 hardly maintained any discipline in terms of line and length.
The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra also couldn’t make much of an impact as all players were allowed to play in the unofficial one-dayer.
As of now, it’s an open secret that Ashwin will don the mantle of premier spinner while the skipper’s go-to man ‘Sir Jadeja’ is expected to figure in the line-up.
For Australia, a good performance in the tournament will give it the much needed boost ahead of the real battle — the Ashes.
The teams (from): India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
Australia: Michael Clarke (capt.), George Bailey, David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Coultier-Nile and Clint McKay.
Keywords: Champions Trophy 2013