An exciting series will kick off on Thursday, 9th February, as India host Australia in the first Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Series at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.
Encounters between India and Australia in the long format of the game have always been memorable. This is because some of the world’s most talented players have been seen locking horns in these matches. Till date, these two teams have taken on each other in 102 Test matches, with Australia winning 43 times as compared to India’s 30 victories.
However, when it comes to playing at home, India have had the better record with 20 wins to their name in 50 matches. Australia have managed only 13 victories on Indian soil. In fact, the Kangaroos haven’t managed to win a series in India since 2008 and they will be desperate to turn things around this time.
The two squads stack up quite well to produce an enthralling contest. Australia have World class pacers like Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, whereas batters like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are expected to give the Indian bowlers quite a hard time as well. However, India is no less equal in this regard as well. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are forces to reckon with at home.
Young guns like Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer have proven their mettle in recent times as well. When it comes to their bowlers, India have spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are a threat to all overseas batters in these conditions. Pacers like Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav are expected to make life further difficult for the Australian batters. Overall, the two teams look evenly matched and hence, we can expect a mouth-watering contest.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Pat Cummins (C), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Virat Kohli: The Indian batting stalwart has an excellent record in Tests against Australia. Kohli has amassed 1682 Test runs against the Austin’s, at an average of 48.05. That includes seven centuries and five fifties.
Steve Smith: He has a terrific batting record against India. Smith has amassed over 1700 runs against the hosts, at a mind-boggling average of 72.58. That includes eight hundreds and five fifties.
Australia has a very strong squad, just like India. But India have a far superior spin-bowling attack than Australia and that gives them the advantage heading into this contest. The hosts should win this match comfortably.