Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni Partnership Made The Difference: Gavaskar

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Skipper Virat Kohli on Sunday said Hardik Pandya's blistering half-century at a crucial stage was the game-changer for India in the first ODI of the five-match series against Australia. Things began to look downhill for India with 11 runs on the board and three wickets down. However, he did not leave without putting India in a position they could come back from. With his cool like cucumber attitude, he guided India towards safety yet again and proved why he is essential for team India.

The two sides have won four matches each in the eight T20Is they have played.

Showers have delayed the start of the Australian innings in the first ODI against India at M A Chidambaram Stadium here today.

A source close to the India think tank said Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja could be the all-rounders in contention for slots in the series against Australia.

That's evident from India's tremendous success in ODIs over the last two years; the last time India lost a bilateral ODI series was in early 2016 when it was beaten 4-1 by Australia Down Under. In T20Is, India is ranked fifth while the Aussies are sixth. Just 10 runs off the first three overs ensured that the boundary-loving India openers were made to think, and when Ajinkya Rahane missed out on a free-hit ball, Coulter-Nile, cunningly, altered the length to get him caught behind off the next ball.

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The hosts selected two wrist spinners after an injury to Axar Patel ruled him out of the first three games of the five-match series.

With superstar talents like captain Smith, the enigmatic David Warner and Glenn Maxwell, Australia will always pose a serious threat in any format, but the need to bounce back and find their best cricket in a hostile environment against a hungry opposition desperate to continue to stamp their authority on the tourists is paramount.

There have been question marks over the futures of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, who have not featured for India since the ICC Champions Trophy in June and the South Africa series in 2015, respectively. The visitors managed to score 347, dropping hints that they were settling well in Indian conditions.

The Virat Kohli-led side, however, will still start as the favourite.

Adam Zampa, Smith has the chance of playing so they will be joining the 3 spinners, like, Ashton Agar, Head and Glenn Maxwell - the one who will be spent the substantial amount of time bowling in the Sunday match. It is expected that rainfall activity may also increase along the East Coast preferably over Northern parts of Tamil Nadu. However, the matches being distributed across regions and over a month's time would mean that the series is likely to not get affected by the receding monsoon.

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