India badly needs Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana to fire to put pressure on Australia, after receiving a nine-wicket hammering in the opening match of the three-game series.
Both openers have the firepower to take on the rival attack and need to ensure that Ellyse Perry and Darcie Brown do not dominate them the way they did in the series opener. Once the aggressive duo of Shafali and Smriti is back in the hut without contributing much, India is left to do the damage control job instead of pressing the accelerator button.
One of the openers needs to bat deep and the middle order, led by skipper Mithali Raj, has to show more intent in scoring runs at a decent pace. Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who missed the opening game due to a thumb injury, is still unavailable for selection. The Australia top-order is packed with proven performers like Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy and captain Meg Lanning.
So, the India bowlers, led by Jhulan Goswami, need to make early inroads as merely containing the batters won’t do the job.