Follow the live scores and blog of the 1st ODI between India and Australia from 6pm (AEST) here on The Roar. There isn't much that separates the two sides on paper.
The Steve Smith-led Australia handed batsman Hilton Cartwright his one-day global debut at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Mouth-watering encounters can be expected from the two cricket giants.
With Dhawan absent for the first three games, Rahane should slot into his opening spot.
This could be a tricky choice though. The kind of form he was in of late, he had a big role to play in the team's recent achievements. You never know what's coming out of their hand.
However, Rohit, the vice-captain, felt the team's "versatility" was its strength.
The team, however, is confident of "Jinks" (as Rahane is fondly called by his mates) breaking the jinx, this time around.
India captain Virat Kohli prefers five specialist bowlers in Tests but keeping in mind the 2019 World Cup, he hinted that a combination of three bowlers and two bowling all-rounders would be adequate. They will again bank on rookie spinners Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal to counter the Australian batting.
"I look at them as mystery spinners".
"He will not be available for the first few one-day matches here in India", he added. If he finally sits out, the onus will be on Kuldeep and Chahal.
What to expect: The pitch looks bereft of any grass, but Smith revealed that it was still soft and felt it could get hard pretty quick in the Chennai heat. He received treatment from the team physio and the area was later bandaged. A slightly more even contest between the bat and ball can go a long way in making it an interesting battle between the teams.
As for Australia, Hilton Cartwright, who opened in the warm-up match against Board President's XI, is likely to share the duty with David Warner.
For the Aussies, not having Aaron Finch opening the batting with David Warner is not a flawless arrangement with the dashing right-hander nursing a calf problem. Travis Head who has replaced the injured Aaron Finch will prove to be the flesh in the thorn for India. A few of the guys played against him in the IPL and he is a good young talent and can be hard to pick at times.