For a well-oiled side like India, the series win against the Aussies, even though on home turf, will act as a stepping stop in the 2019 World Cup campaign.
A formidable Australian side is all set to take on an inspired Indian outfit in the first One Day International (ODI) in Chennai, on Sunday.
The match is part of Australia's limited-overs tour of India comprising of five ODIs and three T20Is.
The 'Aussies' dominate India across formats, when it comes to head-to-head numbers. Out of the 144 ODIs that the two sides have played, India has managed to win only 40 matches while eight yielded no result.
The two sides have won four matches each in the eight T20Is they have played.
The two sides last played a bilateral series in both formats in January 2016, 'down under'. Australia had emerged triumphed with a 4-1 win in the 5 match ODI series. However, the Indian side returned the favour days later by clean sweeping the Aussies 3-0 in the T20I series.
Two months later, India also defeated Australia in the Group Stage match in the 2016 World Twenty20 back at home.
Australia is currently ranked number two in the ODI rankings while India is just one spot under them. In T20Is, India is ranked fifth while the Aussies are sixth.
ScheduleFirst ODI: September 17, Chennai
Second ODI: September 21, Kolkata
Third ODI: September 24, Indore
Fourth ODI: September 28, Bangalore
Fifth ODI: October 1, NagpurFirst T20I: October 7, Ranchi
Second T20I: October 10, Guwahati
Third T20I: October 13, Hyderabad
India's squad for the first three ODIs: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
Shikhar Dhawan has been released from the team for the first three ODIs to attend to his wife, who is unwell while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested.
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith(c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade(wk), Adam ZampaFor Australia, Aaron Finch has been ruled out of the first three matches due to an aggravated calf injury. Peter Handscomb has replaced Finch while Travis Head has been brought in, to open with David Warner.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 15, 2017
What to expect
This is the first real challenge for this Indian side since the ICC Champions Trophy, where their campaign suffered a tragic end.
The team defeated West Indies 3-1 in the ODI series before losing the sole T20I. They clean swept Sri Lanka 9-0 across all three formats in what was a completely one-sided affair.
Australia defeated a tier-two Indian Board President's XI side in Chennai during a 50-over warm-up game. The visitors managed to score 347, dropping hints that they were settling well in Indian conditions.
The series will see the likes of Virat Kohli - currently the world's top ODI batsman take on world's top ODI bowler Josh Hazelwood.
Players to watch for this series are Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner from Australia who've been in fine form lately. From India Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and former skipper MS Dhoni have been consistent with their performances.
Parts of the sub-continent witness rainfall during this time of the year. However, the matches being distributed across regions and over a month's time would mean that the series is likely to not get affected by the receding monsoon.
Mouth-watering encounters can be expected from the two cricket giants. There isn't much that separates the two sides on paper. Australia would be hoping to put up a stellar performance in India just like they did in the Test series in the beginning of this year.For a well-oiled side like India, a series win against the Aussies, even though on home turf, will act as a stepping stop for the 2019 World Cup campaign.