India v Australia: The key questions ahead of ODI series
By Matt Floyd
Last Updated: 17/09/17 8:50am
Whatever the format, India against Australia series consistently deliver drama.
It's usually the cricket that sticks out, though, and the last time the Aussies embarked on a limited overs tour of India in 2013 it was one of the most memorable series in recent times.
The home side took the series 3-2 after twice chasing down scores over 350 and of the 10 innings in the completed matches only once was 300 not passed.
More of the same would do very nicely thanks. Here are some of the key questions that could decide what happens this time...
Can Australia contain India's top order?
This is perhaps the hardest thing to do for any 50-over touring side.
Rohit Sharma and Kohli ran riot four years ago with both averaging over a hundred and both are in top form having notched two centuries each in the recent series in Sri Lanka.
Being without the recuperating Mitchell Starc is a big blow so it will be left to Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood to make early inroads.
If Australia can somehow consistently get wickets in the powerplay they may find a middle order slightly short of time in the middle and confidence.
Can India's back-up spinners continue to perform?
India have taken a gamble by resting premier spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for at least the first three matches, having left them out of the Sri Lanka series entirely.
This will be a massive relief for Australia but the three replacements - Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav - combined so well against Sri Lanka that Ashwin and Jadeja were barely missed.
Australian batsmen have traditionally had a problem against high-quality Indian spin and the big question is whether the second string can exploit these vulnerabilities like the two world-class operators they are substituting for.
Can Australia's middle-order chip in?
This was a major concern during the Champions Trophy, with many pundits citing Moises Henriques inclusion at number four as a weakness.
Australia seem to have a number of capable all rounders but are any of them good enough to play as a front-line batsman?
Aaron Finch's injury also causes another problem as it could mean that Travis Head goes up to open, which will weaken the middle order further.
How will Adam Zampa cope with being the premier spinner?
Ashton Agar's stock is rising but it would be a surprise if Zampa didn't play most if not all of the series. They may even pick both on the slower pitches.
During the 2015 World T20 in India, he responded to the pressure well and was arguably Australia's best bowler but has never played an ODI in the country.
If he gets hit out of the attack by the aggressive Indian batting line up, it would make things that much harder for the tourists.
Verdict - This will be another keenly fought contest yet I find it hard to see anything another than an Indian series win. I'm not sure Australia can cope without Starc's X Factor and their batting looks thin apart from Steve Smith and David Warner. I'll go for 4-1 India with a couple of close games in there. If you disagree feel free to tweet @mattkfloyd and tell me why!
Watch India take on Australia this Sunday from 8.50am on Sky Sports Cricket.