Little six appeal for hosts
Australia, desperate to be competitive when they defend their crown at this summer's World Cup in England, are experimenting. In an effort to catch fast scorers England and India in the runs stakes, they have, er, dropped some of their supposed faster scorers.
Chris Lynn, D'Arcy Short and Travis Head have all been axed from the squad to play India. They have been replaced by Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Mitchell Marsh.
Whether it pays off remains to be seen. But the logic might not be as muddled as it sounds. Lynn and Short made their name in the Big Bash and looked out of their depth in ODI where more subtlety with the willow is required. With Khawaja and Handscomb, who are expected to bat at Nos 3 and 5, Australia will hope for smart cricket rather than sexy cricket.
Turning ones into twos and twos into threes will be the order of the day in an effort to set up Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell for a late thrash. Previously the likes of Lynn and Short fell between two stools when they were unable to bring their Bash game.
What it does mean is that the probability of Australia clearing the ropes for maximum after maximum is reduced. So the 4/5 that Betfair Sportsbook offer about the hosts hitting fewer than 6.5 appeals.
For a start Australia would have to bust their average considerably for the bet to be a loser. They average 4.7 sixes per game over the last two years and 4.3 at home.
The change in personnel makes it a tough task for a spike. Head, for example, hit 13 sixes in the last two years. David Warner was also responsible for 13. Both, of course, are unavailable. Khawaja has eight sixes in 18 ODI and Handscomb one in eight.
Stoinis and Finch are the dangers to the wager. Stoinis has whacked 32 in two years and Finch 23. Getting both cheaply will be important. But Maxwell is also a big hitter with 13 over the same period. It is to our advantage that he will not bat until No 7. On balance, it seems a price worth taking on with plenty in our favour.
Rohit tops Kohli
As we said in our match preview, Virat Kohli has more than 340 runs than Rohit Sharma and 800 more than Shikhar Dhawan in ODI in the last two years. On that basis we should bet him for top India runscorer, right? No.
Perversely, Kohli is not the standout value. Despite the magnificence and the perceived reliability, it is Rohit Sharma who wins this market more over the same study period. He has copped 15 times in 40 matches and Kohli 12 in 40.
That means Kohli should be more like 12/5 than 5/2. And Rohit more like 13/8 than 11/4. If that provides absolute clarity about who we should be betting on, step forward Dhawan to muddy the waters. There's a 0.3 point edge in his favour at 7/2 with a 10/41 record.
There is value all over the shop. Kohli is 6/5 for a fifty when, on the two-year record, he should be 5/6. Rohit is 5/4 for a fifty when he should be 11/10.
And on to the chances of a ton. Kohli is 7/2 when he should be 12/5, Rohit 11/2 when he should be 13/5 and Dhawan 8/1 when he should be 7s.