They face an Indian side which has won 12 of their last 15 ODI matches, all away from the comfort and helpful conditions of India and boasting the unsafe spin of Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, the former pair entrenched superstars and the latter two preferred wrist-spinning options who have begun to make the format their own.
One of the important questions was "Who will replace Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order?" That's how I became an opener because the team wanted me to open at that point.
This could be a tricky choice though.
Should the selectors have any doubts about playing Rahane, they have a ready-made alternative in KL Rahul. Once that is sorted, the Indian batting line-up looks like a well-oiled machine, which can deliver under any circumstances.
The fact that coach Darren Lehmann has skipped the limited-overs tour to India to prepare for the clash against their old rivals only goes on to establish the importance, or the lack of it thereof, attached to the bilateral ODI series that begins with a day-night match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. The Indian team has a very good top seven and all guys are capable of scoring big runs. They have got Kuldeep Yadav in their squad and he is likely to play.
Right now the Australians are here to play five one-dayers, all day-night games, at a time when the departing monsoon can cause problems at a couple of centres.
While Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to keep their places in the XI, Ravindra Jadeja's late inclusion as a replacement to injured Axar Patel will give Kohli selection headaches. You need a proper all-rounder and not just a bowling and a batting all-rounder.
Two months later, India also defeated Australia in the Group Stage match in the 2016 World Twenty20 back at home. Even though a thundershower is predicted around the afternoon, heavy winds should blow the clouds over and the first ODI is likely to see a result.
Steve Smith and his boys put in the hard yards against chinaman and left-arm spinners to be prepared for the Kuldeep Yadav challenge. While the humidity of Chennai could add to the visiting side's woes, it will try to mend the odds with a smooth beginning. Australia's spin hopes will centre around leggie Adam Zampa, with Head and Maxwell filling in for the fifth bowler's slot. You can have as many dot balls as you want, but if you can't pick up wickets you can go for 10-12 runs an over.
Which really means that, if toss wins the 1st ODI match, the captain calls to bat first and figure out with RR7.00 in the economy will be good enough.