Much to the surprise of the cricket lovers from across the world, team India struggled against the kangaroos in their strongest suit and lost the ODI series by 2-1, before bouncing back in the T20 series to clinch it with one T20 remaining to be played. Although both the teams missed some of their top players in quite a few games, there is ample time for all the splayers to regain full fitness before the test series starts on Dec 17.
The expectations back home would’ve surely increased for the Indian team after winning the T20 series quite convincingly. Both the teams are expected to miss their openers, which makes it a tussle of equals. At this juncture, the fans in India are eager to know about the chances of Indian team to win the test series. Here’s a preview of sorts to understand what to expect from India in the upcoming test series:
The opening conundrum
There are as many as 4 specialist openers in the reckoning for team India to start the test series with, including Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill. While India is likely to open with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, don’t be surprised if the management thinks otherwise, given the Kohli’s love for experimentation. The openers will have their task cut out against the best in the business on bowling-friendly surfaces. It would be a difficult job for the opening pair to stand up against the pace of Starc, bounce of Cummins and the accuracy of Hazlewood.
Although one cannot undermine the talent and ability of these young guns, it looks highly unlikely that the duo would be able to weather the storm in majority of the innings.
A solid middle order
With a strong middle order consisting of Kohli, Pujara, Vihari and Saha, India can certainly bank on the trio to perform the rescue act whenever required. Kohli’s form is never questionable, while Pujara always holds the fort in difficult conditions. Vihari has been rising to the occasion for team India in the last few years. The middle order is quite familiar with these conditions and the bowlers to stay in the right frame of mind even amidst testing times on the crease, which arguers well for the men in blue.
However, the litmus test for the trio will start when Nathan Lyon gets a ball. The off spinner is quiet dangerous on Australian tracks with the bounce he gets. So, one can certainly say that tackling Lyon successfully should seal the deal for the Indian middle order.
The variety in bowling
India’s bowling has been a revelation in the last couple of years and it will be no different in Australia. While the seam attack looks well-oiled with all the bases covered, the contest will be decided between Lyon and Ashwin. Nathan Lyon has performed brilliantly for the kangaroos, but Ravi Ashwin has often struggled in the SENA countries. So, the spinners may well prove to be the difference, as the seam bowling attack is evenly matched.
Overall, the contest should be mouth-watering and India is set to give a tough fight and try to replicate their performance from last year. However, Australia have been boosted by the return of Smith and Warner, and it won’t be easy for the Indian team to break through the batting order, as it was on their last tour.
The revised squads are as below:
Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-capt), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
India vs Australia, Test Schedule
1st Test: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide | December 17 – December 21 | 9:30 AM IST
2nd Test: MCG, Melbourne | December 26 – December 30 | 9:30 AM IST
3rd Test: SCG, Sydney | January 7 – January 11 | 9:30 AM IST
4th Test: The Gabba, Brisbane | January 15 – Januray 19 | 9:30 AM IST