Melbourne, Feb 2: India return to the venue where their misery started in December. They are here in Melbourne, which hosted the India-Australia first Test. India's losing streak began at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with the defeat in Boxing Day Test. Now they are back again at MCG, this time for a Twenty20 international on Friday.
MS Dhoni and his men will be wondering what they need to do to script their maiden success in Australia. Following a 4-0 drubbing in Tests, they were again handed a 31-run defeat by Australia in the opening T20 at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday.
Indian captain blamed rain and batsmen's failure as the reasons for Sydney loss. However, more worries will be surrounding around the batting line-up.
Two days later, they come face to face for yet another T20 clash in the two-match series. As it has been the case over the past two months Down Under, India's bats are not making the right sounds.
A winning formula now remains simple for India - runs, runs and only runs.
In the opening T20, they fell short in chase of 172. They lost too many wickets too early and Dhoni was left with no specialist batsmen to relaunch the run-chase in the final overs.
May be Dhoni, if he wins the toss again like he did in Sydney, should bat and put more runs on the board and leave the rest to the bowlers. Incidentally, Dhoni won his first toss of the tour on Wednesday.
India should opt for Irfan Pathan instead of Ravindra Jadeja. Irfan was a surprise omission in Sydney and Dhoni should think of slotting him into the eleven.
The team management can also consider moving the out-of-form Virender Sehwag into the middle order. They could try Rohit Sharma as an opener. He had assumed that role in the World Twenty20 Championship in England in 2009 with average success. Or Irfan can also be elevated. He too has the experience of facing the new white ball.
It is time for India to attempt something new since a win has not been in their sight in Australia. Whether they would embrace change or go in with the same formula will be known only on Friday.
Australia, under new captain George Bailey gave the record crowd of 59,659 at the ANZ Stadium, a perfect gift to celebrate the first ever international at the venue.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade impressed with bat and his knock on Wednesday will be a major confidence booster for him in the upcoming tri-series. If Wade carries this form into the 50-over format, it will be tough for Brad Haddin to return to the team.
Indian bowlers will have to find a way to keep David Warner quiet in the initial overs. Dhoni opted for spin in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin with the new ball. However, Warner won that battle against the offspinner. The left-handed opener's switch hit was a 100-metre six and earned high praise from team-mate David Hussey.
It is high time India regrouped and rediscovered the winning touch.
Squads: India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan.
Australia: George Bailey (captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Travis Birt, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper).
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry (Both Australia)
Third Umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia)
Match Referee: Andrew Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Match starts at 2.05pm IST
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