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Battle for World Cup slots continue as India eye 2-0 lead in Australia ODIs

 India clinched a six-wicket win in the opening ODI against the Aaron Finch-led team to take a 1-0 lead in the series. 

Battle for World Cup slots continue as India eye 2-0 lead in Australia ODIs
Image Courtesy: Twitter/@ICC

Having kicked off their five-match ODI series against Australia on a winning note, India will look to capitalize on the same while World Cup hopefuls will continue to strive for berths when the Men in Blue face the visitors in the second game at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Maharashtra on Tuesday. 

After slumping to a 0-2 T20I series sweep against Australia, the home side rebounded strongly to clinch a six-wicket win in the opening ODI against the Aaron Finch-led team to take a 1-0 lead in the series. 

While Mahendra Singh Dhoni (59) and Kedar Jadhav (81) helped India cross the target of 237 with 10 balls to spare, it was Indian bowlers--as skipper Virat Kohli said-- took the game for India. 

Going into the remaining four limited-overs matches ahead of the showpiece cricket event, the Virat Kohli-led side will look to sort out the available two World Cup slots in an otherwise settled Indian squad. 

Though opener Shikhar Dhawan failed to click with the bat and departed for a duck, KL Rahul is unlikely to replace him in the upcoming fixtures despite a decent performance in the two-match T20I series. 

Meanwhile, the Indian team will once again rely on their bowling attack, led by pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah alongside Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Kedar Jadhav. 

However, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant could return to the national squad in place of all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who did not get the chance to bat in the first ODI while he conceded 22 runs in three overs with the ball. 

On the other hand, Australia will be keen to shrug off their opening match defeat and take inspiration from their T20I series win over India. 

Skipper Aaron Finch's poor form at the top of the batting line-up continues to be a serious concern for Australia, who are eagerly waiting for the return of former skipper Steve Smith and former vice-captain David Warner whose one-year suspensions for their role in the ball-tampering scandal are all set to expire on March 28. 

Having endured a bad year in ODI cricket in 2018, the visitors are keen to clinch their first series in the 50-over format in two years ahead of the 2019 World Cup. 

The two squads are as follows:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, Siddarth Kaul, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), D`Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Usman Khawaja, Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon.