After a thumping win over New Zealand and England, World No.1 India now prepare to host their immediate follower in the rankings table, No.2 Australia in the 4- match Test series. For starters, India begins as strong favourites and many predict another whitewash for India. But Australia is a lot more challenging than the teams that tasted dirt in recent times and taking them lightly might cause embarrassment for the Virat Kohli-led side who are amidst a wonderful unbeaten streak of 17 Tests. The excitement is through the roof and everyone’s already debating about the factors that would make the upcoming games remarkable.
It seems that India has decided to make the Australians toil hard. The pitch creator has clearly mentioned that the ball would turn right from day two! This news is more than enough to make the tourists bit nervy given the fact that the hosts have two of the best and in-form spinners as their frontline bowlers. The spin demons – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – might just have an upper hands on the proceedings of the match. How Australia will deal the spin demons is the most important talking point of not only the upcoming game at Nagpur but also throughout the series.
Mitchell Starc factor:
Mitchell Starc isn’t the same inexperienced bowler who visited India four years ago in shadows of his senior mate Mitchell Johnson. He has now grown into a giant and is currently the best left-arm fast bowler in the world. For the one’s who might be thinking of jumping into the debate with the slow track factor, Starc, with his pace, pinpoint yorker and newly acquired ability to reverse the ball, has proven his might in the subcontinental condition with his recent showing against Sri Lanka where he was Australia’s best bowler. Taking him lightly would be a grave mistake.
Smith and Warner – The batting hopes:
Australia perhaps has the weakest squad which has ever toured India. The batting department appears bit fragile and the hopes lay on the captain – Vice Captain duo of Steven Smith and David Warner. Both have gained vast experience since the last time they toured this country and would be the men on whom the entire team would rely on. Their success with the bat would clearly reflect on the team’s overall performance. Having said that, the Indian team, as well as the Indian fans, would have a keen eye on how the star duo performs in the upcoming matches.
Test of Grit for Michael Swepson and Matt Renshaw:
Two highly promising young names – Michael Swepson and Matt Renshaw – are set to get the real flavour of Test cricket in a matter of few hours. The former, a leg spinner and the latter, a left-handed opening batsman are likely to come out on their debut on Indian soil. Swepson will be left to deal with the Indian batting order comprising of the likes of Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane while Renshaw will be up against the spin challenge.
Both the players can make or break their near future as Test cricketers, to be honest with a lot of competing players vying for their places in the squad. While they have landed here with solid performances to show, both the cricketer may just cement their place in the team if they do well on this tour. This is obviously not going to be easy and that’s where the challenge lays for them.
Australian middle order v Indian middle order:
Another talking point would be the fragile middle order that Australia has currently. The likely XI will see Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade fill the all important role in the middle order. Glenn Maxwell is yet to prove his credentials as a Test cricketer too. And, logically they don’t seem much promising. A strong start at the top might push India out of the contest for few sessions but given the hosts’ spinner’s knack for staging comebacks and triggering collapses, the likes of Handscomb, Wade, and Marsh brothers, if they fail collectively might end up making the Australian batting order like a joke. Coming on to India, the hosts don’t have much to worry as batting run deep till No. 9. Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav certainly have an upper hand comparatively over the Australians. And, how the Aussie fight it out with the limitation they have will be the final talking point.