Melbourne: High on confidence after winning the first Twenty20 International, India will look to press home the advantage and seal the three-match series when they take on Australia in the second Twenty20I here on Friday.
Having won first of the three-T20I series by 37 runs to take a 1-0 lead, India find themselves ahead of the hosts for the first time on this tour, a position of confidence that they didn’t enjoy for the duration of the ODI series.
Winning the last ODI in Sydney provided some relief to the beleaguered travellers, and then the win in the previous match in Adelaide has given their last week on tour some impetus.
Hitting the right balance for the playing eleven has been a concern for the Indian team. They tried doing so earlier in the series, bringing in Gurkeerat Mann and Rishi Dhawan, and leaving out the additional spinner.
Youngsters to the fore
Two spinners in the team hadn’t provided captain Dhoni the control he needed in the middle overs, and though that change in selection didn’t bring about the desired results, the youngsters impressed enough to stay on for the Twenty20Is.
Perhaps it provided the basis for the management to understand where their strength lies, and thus, when Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina joined the ranks for T20Is, there was no hesitancy in picking them for the Adelaide game straightaway.
Picking the duo allowed Dhoni the freedom to choose his bowling attack as per both experience and requirements, devoid of the baggage of the ODI series.
Ravichandran Ashwin duly returned to the side, and along with Ravindra Jadeja, gave a precursor of things to come in the sub-continent in the next two months.
And with Jasprit Bumrah impressing on debut, it gave the management further confidence to draft in Hardik Pandya as well, banking on extra overs that Yuvraj-Raina could bowl if need be.
Thus, it will take a major upheaval in their plans, or even a freak injury in the build-up to tomorrow’s game for India to break away from this combination.