CHENNAI: India kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia in Chennai on Sunday in the 150th clash in one-day internationals between two of cricket's heavyweight superpowers.
Two-time champions India are hunting for a first major title on home turf since the 2011 World Cup win under M.S. Dhoni.
But in a limited-overs rivalry stretching back to 1980, it is five-time World Cup winners Australia who have had the upper hand.
Australia have 83 wins to India's 56 with 10 matches ending in a no-result.
Asia Cup champions India travelled 3,400 kilometres between Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram for two World Cup practice matches that were abandoned without a ball being bowled.
But skipper Rohit Sharma prefered to look at the bright side of the rained-off matches.
"I mean we were happy to get those days off. Looking at the heat and stuff like that, I've been talking about it," said Rohit.
"We've been playing a lot of cricket of late. We played Asia Cup; we played about four games there. Then we played three games against Australia. So that gives us an understanding of where everyone's at and what we need to do as a team as well."
He added: "Apart from travelling from one part of India to another part there is nothing much we could have done but overall quite happy with how we've come into this tournament."
India came into the World Cup as the number one ranked ODI team after a crushing win over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final and then beating Australia 2-1 in three ODIs at home.
"It's important that we look at the first game in Chennai, understand what we need to do as a team," said Rohit.
"Go and assess the conditions a little bit, and then try and get your best combination. And then it's game time."
Five-time winners Australia remain one of the favourites and after losing the opening two matches in India last month bounced back with a big consolation win.
David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Marnus Labuschagne hit half-centuries in the win and returning Glenn Maxwell returned career-best figures of 4-40 with his off-spin.
Maxwell struck an impressive 77 in the team's second warm-up against Pakistan and skipper Pat Cummins said they are raring to go.
"The good thing is we've played plenty of games over in South Africa, against India and even these warm-up games," said Cummins.
"So, it feels like it's all come together in the last week or so. Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, a few others have just kind of come in and are now absolutely game ready."
Australia have dominated ODI's biggest prize and remain the only team to win a hat-trick of trophies in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
"I can't take too much credit for many of them. There's a couple of the boys that were there in 2015, which obviously gives us confidence," said Cummins.
"I think we had a really strong year in the early 2000s. I think one-day cricket is a format that's really suited Australian teams of the past. It's a pretty good history we've had in World Cups. So hopefully another one."--AFP