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Pandya's knock was the game-changer, says Kohli

Pandya's knock was the game-changer, says Kohli

Pandya fancied Zampa immediately, winding up to each of the three deliveries he faced from him first up.

From 6-76 the mountain was too steep to climb and Australia finished 27 runs short at 9-137.

Hardik Pandya's all-round flamboyance complemented by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's customary calm enabled India to record a comfortable -run win over Australia in the rain-curtailed opening ODI of the five-match series, here tonight. Virat Kohli and Co won all the three Test matches, five ODIs and one T20 global to return unblemished.

But in Australia, the hosts will face stiffer competition simply because of the quality of players the visitors posses. "It was swinging early", Smith said referring to Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins who rocked the India top order at the outset. After the row over wages with their own cricket board, the Aussies have come to the sub-continent hoping to perform well against plenty of spin bowling.

Prior to the Sri Lanka 5-0 series whitewash last month, Kohli spoke of the importance of experimenting with the team with an eye on the 2019 World Cup in England. Not having Shikhar Dhawan for the three ODIs is a blow as the southpaw has been among runs in all formats lately.

Hardik Pandya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni taught Australia a lesson about batting in India as the hosts sealed a 26-run victory in the first one-day worldwide in Chennai. KL Rahul is also an option. Peter Handscomb, who joined the squad on Saturday, however is available and the team management will take a final call on Sunday.

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"More than 9000 runs for Dhoni in one-day cricket and he'll get a few more by the time he finishes", Ganguly was quoted as saying to India Today on Tuesday (September 19).

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel suffered an injury scare, spraining his ankle while playing football. Apart from them, there will be a challenge to prove themselves before a strong team in front of Yusufendra Chahal and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. But to beat India especially in India is very tough.

Once that clicks, the rest would depend on how the experienced Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell fare in conditions, which they know pretty well, thanks to their stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL). "If you see Ajinkya played in the middle order earlier and now we're backing him at the top of the order", he added. Smith has already made it clear that Jampa will play in the last eleven. Yet, Australia, who are coming off a resounding Test-series-levelling rout of Bangladesh in Chittagong, are never far away from finding their best, irrespective of the format.

Right now the Australians are here to play five one-dayers, all day-night games, at a time when the departing monsoon can cause problems at a couple of centres.

James Faulkner is back now posting he misses the Champions Trophy, but on this Sunday it is likely to be the team Australia will only focus on the Marcus Stoinis - a batting all-rounder.

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