Outplayed in the ODIs, a faltering India will look to get the balance right as they eye redemption in a three-match Twenty20 series against Australia starting tomorrow which also kicks off their build-up for the World T20 Championships in March-April.
The Indian team was comprehensively beaten in the ODIs, losing the series 1-4 and the T20Is would be an opportunity for the side to pick some positivity from the so far disappointing tour.
Both teams will also begin their run-in for the ICC tournament, particularly the Men in Blue who only have T20Is lined up before the big tournament begins.
The Indian team doesn’t really play too many T20I matches. Since the addition of the format to the international schedule in 2006, they have only played 57 games, with 28 of them across five World T20 events in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
As such, since December 2006, when the Men in Blue first played a T20I against South Africa, they have only featured in 29 bilateral matches. And their record outside the World T20 isn’t particularly impressive, with 15 losses and 14 wins.
These records won’t really play heavily on the Indian team management as they prepare for this T20I series, but the conditions here definitely will.
The just-concluded Big Bash League has been a high scoring encounter, much like the ODI series in the first leg of this trip, and the pitches are expected to be flat and have ample bounce for the batsmen to make merry.
The difference in conditions from the World T20 in India won’t really allow either side to judge their spin options, but they will be busy evaluating different permutations and combinations.
For India, it will be about getting their team balance right, in particular their strength, batting. Ajinkya Rahane has been ruled out of this first T20I, as he hasn’t sufficiently recovered from the split-webbing injury suffered in Canberra.
Even in his absence though, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be keen to get the batting line-up optimised from the word go.
The Indian skipper had lined up Rahane to open in the third T20I against South Africa that was washed out in Kolkata in October.