The most awaited test series of the year is here. Adelaide is all set to host the first test of the four match test series between Australia and India on Friday. The first phase of the bilateral series has already taken place as both the teams won one match each to draw the T20I series. But now it is the time for real cricket – the red ball cricket.
The hosts come into the series after a poor outing at UAE against Pakistan. Usman Khawaja helped them draw the first test but a helpless Australia faced the wrath of the Pakistanis in the second as they were beaten comprehensively by 373 runs and lost the series 1-0. However conditions will be different at their home as compared to the middle east.
The bouncy pitches at Australia would help the home bowlers to do the talking with the ball. Aussie captain Tim Paine would be expecting his fast bowlers would rise to the occasion and have a dominant show against Indian batsmen. Jos Hazlewood was quoted saying earlier in the presser that he expects Nathan Lyon to play a key role in the series.
Talking about their batsmen, Usman Khawaja looked confident against Pakistan. His herculean effort in the first test match earned him the man of the match award as Australia saved the test by the skin of it. Aaron Finch has had a good start to his test career. The right handed batsman provided solid starts at the top of the innings for the Aussies. Shaun Marsh is an ever reliable option at number 3 for the home side. However the middle order looks depleted for Australia. Tim Paine, Mitchel Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne have all suffered with the bat. And with key players like David Warner and Steve Smith out with the ban, much depends on the top three batsmen to put on a match winning score.
Erstwhile India made light work of Windies in their last series. Both the test matches of the series finished inside the third day as India completed the whitewash with relative ease. But India’s last two away test series have been disastrous. They faced significant defeats at South Africa and England and this series remains the last series to make a mains.
India’s bowling department has developed by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma are performing regularly at the best of their forms. However it’s the Indian batting that has let the team down in the last two away test series. No batsman other than Virat Kohli has found an answer to tackle the bowling overseas. Ajinkya Rahane has been poor in the last couple of years. He was miserable in both the South Africa and England series. Same is the case for Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara who had been seen as the lynchpin of Indian batting has had torrid time in the middle. Only one century in last 7 away matches doesn’t help his case either. Rishabh Pant has had a good start to his test career and Kohli would be looking at the youngster to continue making big strides.
India vs Australia has always produced memorable matches. And it looks no different this time either. With a mouth-watering series coming up, we can expect a lot of records, fights and dramas over the next few days.
Australia: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine(WK & C), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazelwood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.
India: Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma.