Aussies and India to renew rivalry in ODIs

Steve Smith expects tensions between Australia and India will cool during the ODI series that starts on Sunday.

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Smith’s squad has landed in India, where they’ll contest five one-dayers and three Twenty20s before heading home to prepare for the Ashes.

Australia’s previous visit to the country was marred by a series of controversies, the bulk of which involved Smith and/or opposing captain Virat Kohli.

Smith expects a far less fiery contest than the Test series that unfolded in February and March.

“I think it’ll be played in good spirit,” Smith told reporters in Chennai, where his side will face a local XI on Tuesday in their only warm-up before the series starts in the same city.

“It’s always a hard-fought contest playing against India.”

Kohli remarked after India’s 2-1 Test series win over Smith’s side that he is no longer friends with Australian players and never will be.

The firebrand’s antics and words ensured he was a near-constant presence in the headlines earlier this year, but he struggled with the bat.

Kohli managed just 46 runs at an average of 9.2; the superstar has never logged a lower average in a Test series.

He has since returned to form, finishing a recent limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka with knocks of 82, 110no and 131.

“He is obviously a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record,” Smith said.

“Hopefully we can keep him quiet as much as possible in this series.

“If we do that then hopefully it can go a long way in us having success on this tour.”

Coach Darren Lehmann has returned home, with David Saker to mentor the squad in India.

Smith, who captained Australia to a recent 1-1 drawn Test series in Bangladesh, rejected the notion another month on the subcontinent would hamper his side’s Ashes preparation.

“I don’t think there is a problem with that,” he said.

“I know before the last Ashes series (in Australia, 2013/14) there was a one-day series here as well.

“There is plenty of time when we get back home and play some Shield games also and get ready for the Ashes.”