India are set to play a one-day series at home against Australia, who will be playing their first ODI since the 2019 World Cup semi-final. This will be a beginning of sorts for both teams in building the foundation for the next World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in 2023 in India.
The new India v Sri Lanka?
If you feel India and Australia have been playing each other way too often in the last few years, you are right. In fact, the last year these two teams didn't meet each other in any format was in 2005. Since 2000, they've missed playing an ODI against each other only for four years.
Since the start of 2013, the two teams have met each other 28 times. Both teams have won 13 games each, with two games washed out. In this period, the two teams have competed in three series each - home and away - and both teams have won three each. Remarkably, the results of those series were also similar. India and Australia have each won a home series 4-1, India beat Australia in Australia (2-1) in 2018 and Australia returned the favour by coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in India in 2019. Interestingly, they've both also won one World Cup match each against each other in this period.
Touring India has been usually hard for teams but that's not been the case for Australia. Australia and Pakistan are the only teams to have won more than they have lost in India. Since the start of 2010, India have played 21 bilateral series at home and have lost only thrice (against Australia, South Africa and Pakistan). India and Australia have met in nine bilateral series in India, with Australia winning five and India four.
The Rohit-Kohli-Dhawan show
India's current top three have been prolific and have played a key role in the side's success whenever they've faced Australia. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have some stellar records against them with Shikhar Dhawan not too far behind. Kohli and Rohit are one and two centuries away respectively from equalling Sachin Tendulkar's nine centuries against Australia in the format.
Since the start of 2013, Rohit has amassed 1844 runs from 27 innings at an average of 76.83 with seven centuries and seven fifties against Australia. Rohit has hit 69 sixes in this period against them, and the next best is MS Dhoni's 22. Rohit has 70 sixes overall against Australia in ODIs - the second-most by a player against any opposition. Chris Gayle, with 85 sixes against England, is the only one ahead of Rohit.
Since 2013, the trio of Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli have scored 58% of the total team runs against Australia. For comparison, the average runs for this top three across all teams in the last four years has been 48.5%. Out of the 21 matches the trio has featured in against Australia, at least one batsman has scored a century in 14 of those matches. In fact, there have been only three instances in these 21 innings in which at least one of the three batsmen has not scored a half-century.
Run-fest on the cards?
History suggests that India-Australia clashes have not been friendly to the bowlers. Irrespective of where the match is held, there's been an advantage for the batsmen. Since 2013, India and Australia have met 28 times. There have been 25 scores in excess of 300 (14 by Australia and 11 by India). In fact, there have been eight scores above 350 and on three occasions, totals above 350 have been chased down. The average first-innings score is 304. The average run rate for an India-Australia game is six runs per over. It is the second-highest for any team combination after England-Pakistan (6.04).
The lowest either of these teams have made in the first innings is 230, and neither of them have been dismissed below 200, in the last seven years whenever they've faced each other.
The three venues in which the ODIs are going to be played heavily favour batsmen due to their short boundaries and nature of pitches in the last few years. These are the first innings in the two ODIs that have been played at these venues since 2013: 438 and 280 in Mumbai, 325 and 270 in Rajkot, 383 and 334 in Bengaluru. With world-class fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc set to play in this series, it will be interesting to see if that trend continues.