The first One-Day International between Australia and India at the SCG on Friday will mark the first time since March that men’s international cricket has been played in Australia.
By the time the game kicks off at 2:40 pm local time, it will have been 259 days since Australia’s 71-run, crowdless victory over New Zealand at the same venue.
It will also be 270 days since India’s last international match and 290 days since its last ODI, both of which were also against New Zealand in February and March.
Sitting second only behind last year’s World Cup winners England on the ICC ODI Team Rankings, there’s no doubt that India is a formidable ODI outfit.
Despite this, Australia will be looking to capitalise on its home-ground advantage, having only lost four of its 21 ODI matches at the SCG since 2010, and boasting a perfect record from its four ODIs at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
With these statistics in mind, let’s take a closer look at some more numbers that are set to shape the series.
Of all 140 ODI matches played between the two countries, Australia has won over half.
The ledger currently sits at 78-52 in favour the Aussies, with 10 matches not achieving a result.
The 51 matches played between the two countries in Australia has fallen the way of the hosts a total of 36 times, with India winning 13 of these and two not concluding with a result.
However, India’s recent ODI record in Australia suggests that the series may be a closer contest than first thought. India has won three of its past five ODI matches in Australia, having won the 2019 ODI series in Australia 2-1.
India has also won three of their past five against Australia overall, as well as six of the last 10, winning the series in India at the beginning of 2020 by the same margin.
It’s easy to see why Kohli sits first on the ICC ODI batting rankings.
With the ridiculous average of 59.33, the highest of any current player and the highest of any player to play 35 or more innings at the One-Day International level, Kohli is always key to India’s success.
Add to that his average when captain, currently 74.59, and his average when India wins, 77.37, and this is all the more evident.
Kohli will be looking to make a substantial impact in this ODI series and make his mark on the Australian summer, before he returns to India for the birth of his first child after the first test in December.
In 38 ODI innings against Australia, Kohli has scored 1910 runs at 54.57, with eight half-centuries and eight centuries.
After a lean 2019-20 summer and a lean IPL campaign, Smith will be itching to begin this Australian Summer strongly.
Two of Smith’s three highest ODI scores have come against India, in addition to his average of 60.46 against them.
Smith averages 53.33 at the SCG, where he made his highest ODI score of 164 against New Zealand in 2016.
In 15 previous ODI innings against India, Smith has scored 907 runs at 60.46, with five half-centuries and three centuries.
Chahal is perhaps lesser known to the Australian public.
However, during India’s last tour of Australia, the leg-spinner took 6/42 in a dreary match at the MCG, his best ODI bowling figures to date.
Chahal will perhaps have to compete with Kuldeep Yadav for his spot in India’s XI, though if given a shot can undoubtedly have an impact.
Following Australia’s tour of India in January this year, Virat Kohli earmarked Labuschagne as a player with the potential to be dominant in all three formats.
Labuschagne has established himself as a fan favourite in his short career to date and has already recorded one century and two fifties in the ODI format.
He will provide effective middle-order support for the Aussie team alongside his handy part-time leg-spin and can certainly pose a threat to the Indian bowling attack.
Richardson is currently recovering from a shoulder injury which will keep him out of the series.
However, he proved to be a handful in 2019’s ODI series in Australia, taking six wickets across the three matches and dismissing Virat Kohli in every match.
His figures of 4/26 from 10 overs were key to Australia’s victory in the first match of the series at the SCG.
Sharma is currently recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in the IPL and will be sorely missed at the top of the Indian order.
The opening batsman has scored 2208 runs in 40 ODI innings against Australia at an average of 61.33, with a top score of 209.
Sharma has scored eight half-centuries and eight centuries against Australia, including scoring 119 in his most recent encounter against the Aussies.
First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.