Ed Hawkins previews the first of three ODI between Australia and India with a flat wicket waiting in Sydney early on Friday...
"More than 300 has been busted in four of those last six first-innings and 300 looks to be the bare minimum..."
Australia v India
Friday November 27 03.40
TV: live on BT Sport
Australia are in form in this format having defeated world champions England 2-1 away from home during the summer. They will expect to complete another series win over an India side not at full-strength.
They are far from the complete ODI outfit, however. Their big problem has been caution with the bat. With the line-up they have, they should cut loose and go hell for leather. Consistently they have had an issue turning strong starts into strong finishes.
That wasn't the case in their last outing against England at Old Trafford when they recovered from the mire with centuries from Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey. It was an improbable win but a one-off nonetheless. There have been false dawns before but whether India are good enough to expose Aussie foibles is the big question. The bowling line-up is terrific.
Probable XI Finch, Warner, Stoinis, Labuschagne, Smith, Carey, Maxwell, Cummins, Starc, Hwood, Zampa
India are without Rohit Sharma, the best ODI batsman in the world. Why he was fit to play in the IPL finale for the Mumbai Indians but not for this tour is something of a mystery.
It means that they will shuffle their top order with Mayank Agarwal, excellent in the IPL, likely to pair with Shikhar Dhawan in the opening slot. There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Virat Kohli and Australia may reckon that the engine room of Shreyas Iyer, Kl Rahul and Hardik Pandya is soft.
For Iyer or Rahul the tour represents a chance to nail down their international career. Undoubtedly talented, only temperament can stop them from doing great things. If they step up in the absence of Rohit and support Kohli, India are competitive.
Probable XI Agarwal, Dhawan, Kohli, Iyer, Rahul, Hardik, Jadeja, Chahal, Kuldeep, Bumrah, Shami
Five of the last six ODI day-nighters at the SCG have been won by the side batting first. The bias holds for all-time with a 57% bias on the flip. More than 300 has been busted in four of those last six first-innings and 300 looks to be the bare minimum. We would be happy to be betting Australia for 310- or 320-plus at decent odds on the innings runs market. Sportsbook go 2/1 that both teams score 275-plus. Given India's excellent record in a chase away from home, it is a fair wager. Both teams to score 300 is 4/1. No rain is forecast.
India can trade short batting first
Australia are 1.695/7 with India 2.407/5. That is skinny indeed about the hosts who, as we said, are not the finished article by any stretch.
Still, if they were to bat first that price could be considerably shorter by the break. More than 300 is well within their grasp, particularly as the Indian bowlers have had little time to adapt to match conditions.
The best way to get with India is to hope they bat first and make use of the flat surface. That way, a trade is possible at the break and we could be looking at odds of 1.804/5.
Kohli has been cut from 21/10 to 15/8 with Sportsbook for top India bat. He is well overdue, as discussed on Cricket...Only Bettor, below. His win rate is no way near in line with his price, either.
There are chunky prices on Marcus Stoinis and Maxwell at 8s and 16s respectively. If Australia go with the same order as their last outing, Stoinis is a blockbuster because he would bat at number three. If not, Maxwell, who was down at seven, is overpriced.
Australia v India preview on Cricket...Only Bettor