After the historic series triumph in Tests, the focus shifts to the ODI format. With the ICC World Cup set to happen in five months, every match will serve as a curtain raiser to the mega piece event. Australia will be more formidable in the 50-over format than they were in the Tests.
Despite being dropped for the fourth Test at Sydney, Aaron Finch comes back to captain Australia, as he is a prolific run scorer in limited overs format. They will also be bolstered by the return of explosive duo in Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey as both have scored runs in the ongoing Big Bash League. Although their primary bowlers have been rested, the bowling line up looks formidable with the likes of Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa, Jhye Richardson.
India will again be the favourites in the format where India has won more matches since 2017. The top 3 in Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli are expected to be the primary contributors with the bat. India will be hoping to give some valuable match time for the middle order batsman before the World Cup.
Captain Kohli will again depend on spin-twins Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav to put the breaks in the middle order and help India record their first ever bilateral series win down under. Let us look at a few records that Indians could break in the series.
#1 Mahendra Singh Dhoni - Second wicketkeeper ever to score 10000 for his nation
MS Dhoni has been in the scrutiny for the number of runs he has scored in the recent times. Despite lacking runs under his belt, his contributions in ODI cricket is still noteworthy. With the strong top-order like the one India has, Dhoni hasn't had many opportunities to score big runs.
India would be hoping for a change in 2019, as he is in his last leg of his career. He is just one run away from becoming the second wicketkeeper to score 10000 ODI runs for his country after Kumar Sangakkara. The team management should somehow give Dhoni more game time so that he does what he has done for one and a half decade.
We all witnessed the vintage Dhoni in IPL 2018 where he gave himself some time to settle before going berserk. With Ambati Rayudu securing the no. 4 slot, Dhoni is expected to bat at 5 and all of India will be hoping to see him score crucial runs in the lower middle-order.
#2 Mohammed Shami - Quickest Indian to 100 ODI Wickets
India's quest for the third seamer has been on for a while now as no one could really seal a spot. Selectors fast-tracked the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and, Siddharth Kaul but none has produced telling performances consistently. That is the reason Selectors have gone back to Mohammed Shami with World Cup in six months.
Mohammed Shami did exceptionally well in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup picking up 17 wickets at an economy of 4.85. His death bowling was one of the reasons why India kept taking all 10 wickets every match in the group stages. With a career average of 26, he is definitely a wicket-taking bowler.
He is six wickets away from 100 ODI wickets and if he could do that, then he could be the fastest Indian to get 100 wickets. With Jasprit Bumrah rested for the series, this provides a perfect platform to stake a claim for a World Cup spot.
#3 Ravindra Jadeja - Third Indian to Complete a double of 2000 ODI runs and 150 wickets
Ravindra Jadeja was dropped from the ODI squad after losing the finals of 2017 Champions Trophy. But after making a comeback into the team, he has made impactful performances both in limited overs format and in Tests.
In fact, in his comeback match in the Asia Cup, he produced a man of the match spell of 4-29 against Bangladesh. He also scored 86 at the Oval and followed it up with his maiden Test hundred against Windies. This did a world of good for his confidence as he made crucial breakthroughs in the Tests at Melbourne and Sydney.
Jadeja will be looking to cement a place in the ODI squad and will be competing against Hardik Pandya for the all-rounder spot. He is just 18 runs away from completing the double of 2000 runs and 150 ODI wickets. He will be third Indian to achieve the feat after Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar.
#4 Shikhar Dhawan – Third fastest ever to 5000 ODI runs
Shikhar Dhawan needs 65 runs to complete 5000 runs in ODIs. If he achieves the feat in the series, then he could be the third fastest ever to achieve the feat behind only Hashim Amla (104), Viv Richards & Virat Kohli (114). Now he has 4935 runs in 114 innings.
More than this feat, he is an integral part of the success of the Indian team. He along with Rohit and Kohli forms a dangerous top three. They have scored heaps of runs all over the world and India will require them to continue doing the same if India has to do well in the world cup.
Dhawan is more critical to the team as he is the only left-hander in the top seven in the Indian team. With every team equipping themselves with leg-spinners, his presence could be more effective. That was evident in the T20 series when he handled Adam Zampa better than the likes of Rohit and Kohli.
#5 Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 100 Wickets
2018 was a fruitful year for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He started off brilliantly by rattling South Africa batting in the first Test. He was dropped for the second Test but came back in the third Test and produced a man of the match performance to help India win at Johannesburg. A back injury cut short his IPL season, and he missed the subsequent England series.
After the rehab, he proved his fitness in the recently concluded T20I series against West Indies and Australia. He has formed a brilliant bowling partnership with Jasprit Bumrah both in opening the bowling and in death bowling. He will again hold the key with the ball in hand in Australia.
He is one wicket away from 100 ODI wickets and is expected to achieve the feat in the series. With World Cup scheduled in England, the swing bowler will lead the Indian bowling attack.