AUS vs IND: Men in Blue seek revival of fortunes

Dhoni will be keen to reverse the string of limited overs series losses and will hope to start the five-match ODI series on a winning note. Three T20 games will be played after the ODIs, and Dhoni's boys would like to carry the momentum into the shortest format.

India has not won an ODI series under Dhoni since 2014.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The last time India won a limited overs series under M. S. Dhoni was in 2014, when they defeated a visiting West Indies side 2-1 in a five-match ODI series. Last year, Dhoni’s men failed to defend their world title; went down to Bangladesh in their backyard, and failed against the South Africans at home.

The limited overs skipper will be keen to set things right before the World T20 in March. And the first hurdle will be to beat a confident Australia in the first of the five-match ODI series starting at Perth tomorrow. Three T20 games will be played after the ODIs, and Dhoni's boys would like to carry the momentum into the shortest format.

While India won both their warm-up games — a T20 and a 50-over match — against a second string Western Australia XI, it is certainly not the best indicator of the kind of challenge they will face from Steve Smith's men.

Paris, Boland make their debuts

Australia have bolstered their fast bowling department by including Joel Paris and Scott Boland, who will come in handy on a bouncy WACA wicket.

Shaun Marsh will have to make way for Paris. Australia captain Steve Smith said Paris's left-arm swing in his home conditions swayed the selectors in his favour.

“Traditionally we like to play a left-armer here who can use the breeze and move the ball, so hopefully he'll be able to do that for us tomorrow,” Smith told reporters on Monday.

Boland gets the nod after being on the fringe of the Australian Test team this season.

“His death bowling has been very impressive,” said Smith of Boland's efforts with the Melbourne Stars in the BBL.

While Australia’s pace attack has been strengthened, India will miss Mohammed Shami, who has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury.

Brainder Sran could come in handy

But there are certain aspects that might also relieve Dhoni. The fact that dashing opening batsman David Warner may not be available for the better part of the series is one. With Mitchell Starc out due to an injury, the Aussie bowling attack comprising Josh Hazlewood, Joel Paris, Scott Boland and Jimmy Faulkner looks thin on experience.

With three pacers almost certain to play at the WACA — one of the bounciest of pitches — there are high chances that left-arm pacer Brainder Sran could get his maiden India cap alongside Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

The lanky Sran looked impressive in both the practice matches with both pace and swing in his armoury. With a deceptive short ball, Sran could prove to be a handful, complementing Ishant and Umesh.

The two experienced spin-bowling all-rounders, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, will make up the five-pronged bowling attack for India.

Squads:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Manish Pandey, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Brainder Sran, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel and Rishi Dhawan.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), Aaron Finch, David Warner, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade (wk), Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, Joel Paris and Scott Boland.