The upcoming India-Australia series is a novel one in my opinion also if my memory serves me correctly this will be the first time that all the matches in an international series in India will be played under lights. The BCCI, evidently, has a good marketing team in place which knows that people nowadays have jobs to do and cannot afford to miss work for matches. So it is a good thing to have day-night games so that people are able to finish their work and come and see the games or at least some of it. This could also be a way ahead in international cricket where we see games being played under lights on working days and as regular day games when it is a holiday so as to incorporate as big as an audience as possible.
Now let’s come back to cricket and discuss the prospects of what is going to be an exciting series. To start with the rudimentary details both the teams will be slugging it out in 7 ODIs and one T20. The T20 match will be played in Rajkot and is the opening match of the series. In many ways this encounter shall set the tone for the rest of the series and both the teams will be really eager to wrest the initiative then and there.
The first one day match will be played at Pune, which arguably is one of the most picturesque stadiums in the country. The wicket is expected to be full of runs and fans can expect to see some fireworks in that particular match. My bet is that the team that wins the toss will look to bat first and get a big score on board and then defend it in the evening. The next match will be played at Jaipur, which is the fortress of the Rajasthan Royals team and normally has a hard and grassy pitch during the IPL matches. However, I am not sure if Dhoni will want so much grass on the pitch. One thing is for sure that there will be good bounce for all concerned and the match will be a good one.
The third match of the series shall take place at Mohali, which is the best wicket for one day matches in the entire Indian subcontinent. Once again, my prediction is a fun filled match with runs and wickets. The fourth match will be played at Ranchi, which is captain MSK’s home turf. I do not know what to expect from the wicket but since it is new I think that there will be some bounce on the go, which means there will be a lot of runs.
The fifth match shall be played at Cuttack, which is normally slow and low in first class matches – pardon me if I am wrong! However, as is the norm of one day wickets, it will be spruced just enough to ensure that there are a lot of runs and the ones in attendance do not go home disappointed. The sixth ODI is expected to take place at Jamtha, which has one of the quickest and hardest wickets in the country. So my guess is the Aussie team shall really enjoy it, perhaps more than India, which is supposed to be the home team! The final game of the series shall take place at Bangalore, which also has one of the finest wickets in the country – one that offers true bounce and carry throughout the game. So all in all the venues are world class and the conditions on offer will be to the liking of both the teams.
Now coming to the predictions as to who may nail the series I think it is going to be a hard fought one that might go to the last game. India, at the moment, is the numero uno team in one-dayers and Australia is not far behind them. The antipodeans also have form on their side considering the fact that they recently won a series against England in England after being plastered in the Ashes over there. The fact that it will be played right at the top of the festive season as well as the cricketing season also means that the games shall be followed closely and will set the tone for what is going to be a long season for the team.