Australia v India Test Series Tips and Preview

So far in India’s tour of Australia, the two sides have shared the spoils, but now we look ahead to the test series.

The Aussies won the ODI series before Virat Kohli and company battled back to claim the T20I series.

Both teams will now compete for the Border–Gavaskar Trophy over four Test matches.

India will be without Kohli for three of the contests as he returns home for paternity leave, which will put pressure on the rest of the batsmen to pick up the slack. However, Australia are also without the injured David Warner.

It should be an enthralling contest between two top sides and closely fought like the earlier matches of the tour.

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Preview

Australia put a marker down for the tour with two impressive performances to defeat India in the ODI series. They put the tourists on the back foot and cruised over the winning line before losing the final match of the series.

India were not deterred from their defeat in the ODI series and battled back to show their dominance in the T20I format, overcoming the home side with ease. The Baggy Greens avoided a whitewash by winning the final T20I of the series, handing them a momentum boost for the test series.

Since the arrival of Justin Langer, Australia’s test side have been a stronger unit, although India did beat them on their last tour in 2018 by a 2-1 margin. Langer’s men have been solid at home and away, drawing against England in the Ashes in 2019 before defeating both Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil.

They brushed aside the Black Caps with a 3-0 whitewash in their last action, but it has been almost 12 months since Australia have played red-ball cricket due to the pandemic so there could be an element of rust.

India only have Kohli for the first match of the series. Their captain has been their key cog with the bat over the last five years. Without him in the ranks, the other senior players will have to step forward, just like they did on their last tour two years ago.

The leading cricket betting sites believe that Australia are the overwhelming favourites for the series, with Kohli’s absence looming large. However, India still have quality and could spring a surprise.

Matches

1st Test: 17th – 21st December 2020 – Australia v India – Adelaide Oval

2nd Test: 26th – 30th December 2020 – Australia v India – Melbourne Cricket Ground

3rd Test: 7th – 11th January 2021 – Australia v India – Sydney Cricket Ground

4th Test: 15th – 19th January 2021 – Australia v India – The Gabba, Brisbane

Team News

Australia

Australia have named a strong team, although Langer has resisted calls to reinstate Steve Smith as captain nearly three years removed from the ball-tampering scandal.

The Baggy Greens will be without Warner for at least the opening match of the series. The 33-year-old suffered a groin injury in the second ODI and has been ruled out of the first test.

Marcus Harris is in line to replace the left-hander at the top of the order, alongside Joe Burns. Harris fared well against India on their last tour, leading the Baggy Greens with 258 runs.

Marnus Labuschagne and Smith provide the power in the batting line-up at three and four respectively. Both players are capable of leading the team in runs this time around. Labuschagne was in prime form for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, and could be in line for a big series with the bat.

The other slot in the line-up will be contested between Cameron Green, Matthew Wade and Will Pucovski. The latter has had issues with concussions and may miss out, leaving the impressive Green to slot in between Smith and Travis Head at number five.

Australia are blessed with a formidable quartet of bowlers and are all fit for the series. Nathan Lyon was the leading wicket-taker against India two years ago and will be primed for another crack at the talented Indian batting line-up.

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Cummins round out the team. Starc’s performances with the white ball were concerning and the Aussie coaching staff will monitor him with the red ball in hand.

Marnus Labuschagne To Be Australia’s Top Batsman – 4.00 bet365

India

India will be without Kohli after the first test and Rohit Sharma for the entire series. It places the rest of the batting line-up under huge pressure to perform against a talented bowling line-up.

Cheteshwar Pujara was the star for India on their last tour of Australia. The 32-year-old scored 521 in four matches in 2018, scoring three centuries in the process. The tourists need him to operate at the peak of his powers once again if they are to compete without their skipper.

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team for the final three games in the absence of Kohli. Rahane has a decent record against the Aussies but needs to be at his best.

Mayank Agarwal should hold down one of the opening slots, but Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are battling for the other. Gill’s performances on the tour could see him get the edge and make his Test debut.

Jasprit Bumrah was pulled out of the T20I series in hopes he would his form with the red ball. The 26-year-old claimed 21 wickets against Australia on his last tour of the country and Inda will hope he can recapture his form from the 2020 IPL season where he was downright electric.

Mohammed Shami will slot into position alongside Bumrah with the new ball. However, India face a choice over their third seamer. Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini are all contention. Ravichandran Ashwin’s excellent series in 2018 against the Aussies will see him lock down the spinner’s role.

Jasprit Bumrah To Be India’s Top Bowler – 2.50 bet365

Head-to-Head

India claimed their first series win in Australia on their last tour, overcoming Langer’s men by a 2-1 scoreline. However, out of the 26 Test series that have been played between the two sides, Australia have won 12 compared to India’s nine.

There have been 98 matches played between the two teams. Australia again hold the edge with 42 victories compared to India’s 28, while 27 have ended in draws.

Summary

The two sides are evenly matched at full strength. However, the absence of Kohli will loom large over the series for the final three games.

Smith and Labuschagne could make the difference in the series. Both are run machines, especially on home soil. Pujara might be able to match one, but without his captain there will be a deficiency in runs scored by the tourists.

Australia’s pace bowlers can make life very difficult for the Indian batsmen. Cummins and Hazlewood in particular will be tough to stop. Therefore, Australia are our cricket tip to win the series by a 3-1 margin on home soil.

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