India openers struggle to forge partnerships in World Cup year

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 05, 2019 15:28 hrs
shikhar dhawan

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan over the years have enjoyed many match-winning opening partnerships in the Team India colours. However, in this World Cup year, they have struggled for consistency at the top of the order.

Indian openers in general have averaged just 33 compared to their 40-plus average in the last three years.

The left-handed Dhawan, especially has struggled to notch up a century in ODIs since the end of the Asia Cup. The Southpaw's scores have been 4, 29, 35, 38, 6, 0, 32, 23, 75, 66, 28, 13, 6, 0, 21 since then with a total of 376 runs from 15 innings at an average of 26.85.

After Dhawan was dismissed for a duck in the first ODI against Australia at Hyderabad, Rohit fell without scoring in the second match in Nagpur. The Indian team management's experimentation at the top with their opening combination accommodating KL Rahul, hasn't helped either.

Earlier, Australia won the toss and asked India to bat first in the second ODI of the ongoing five-match ODI series here at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday.

Following the toss, Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he was looking to bat first, considering the pitch conditions.

Talking about the team combination, Kohli informed that they have not made any changes in the playing XI from the first ODI.

"We wanted to bat first, pretty much a no-brainer. Not much dew in the evening and it is a dry surface. Not typical of the kind of pitches you get here does not look like it will bounce much. We expect it to deteriorate further as the game progresses. We have the same team. We spoke about the middle order coming through when the top three does not click, so we need such games. Guys are looking for opportunities. It was a good performance for us, hopefully, we can keep it going," Kohli said after the toss.