A dominant force in One-day cricket, India would look to retain its top spot in the rankings when they clash with a relatively inexperienced Australian side in a seven-match series, beginning here tomorrow.
India have enjoyed exceptional results in One-day format this year. Except losing a three-match series to Pakistan at the start of 2013, the world champion side has had tremendous success, winning series after series.
The hosts had whitewashed Australia 4-0 in the February-March Test series and avenging that loss would be a herculean task for the visitors, who have come without inspiring skipper Michael Clarke even as their batsmen gave a good account of themselves in the one-off Twenty20 in Rajkot.
Australia did beat England in ODIs post their Ashes debacle but India are a tough nut to crack in home conditions. And the visitors have got a fair idea about the task ahead after failing to defend a 200-plus total in Rajkot.
The Australian attack was subdued by the Indian batsmen, specially the comeback-man Yuvraj Singh, who took the game away from them with his blitzy 35-ball 77. The left-hander has always been a vital cog in India's middle-order and the way he batted in his first game, Australia would be wary of him.
The Australians lack an effective spinner in their attack hence the pacemen need to come up with something very special to stop the rampaging Indian batting line up.
Bowling would be a little worry for Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also as paceman Ishant Sharma and spinner R Aswhin were carted around by the Australians in T20.
Ashwin usually is a reliable weapon but he bled 41 runs in his two overs and Sharma conceded 52 in his four, forcing introduction of part-timer Virat Kohli in the attack.