India’s trip to down under has been quite a fascinating story. Indians were looking outdone in the first two ODIs and then they staged a comeback in the last one. Things took ‘U’ turn in the T20s. India stunned Australia in first two T20s and Aussies took their revenge in the last T20. Though there were predictions that India would hand down lose all the formats, Indians did manage to win the shortest format. In a way, it is 3-3 at present in the concluded 6 matches…

Shorter formats were extremely competitive and expect it to be the same in the longest format of Cricket. Unlike the last time, India has two hurdles in their way, one in the form of David Warner and the other is swashbuckling and unorthodox Steven Smith. Both the batsmen were in superb form in the ODIs. Picking their wickets in consecutive overs is as good as winning the match. While this is the case with Kangaroos, Indians start the series with a little worry. Virat Kohli, the star Indian batsman and the skipper will not be playing 3 test matches. He is, of course, playing in his favourite Adelaide Cricket ground in the first test. That’s the first away Day/Night test match for India.

Pluses and Minuses for the Teams – Australia vs India

Australia’s story going into the series

  • Plus – WLS factor – Warner, Labuschagne & Smith
  • Plus – Mitchel Starc is Back
  • Plus – Lyon’s Spin Web & Tailenders’ batting skills
  • Minus – Increasing Injury Woes
  • Minus – No defined opening batsmen
  • Minus – Middle-order misery

India’s Story going into the series

  • Plus – Pujara, The wall.
  • Plus – Lot of batting options
  • Plus – Jaddu’s form and Bumrah’s Bowling
  • Minus – Inexperienced players in team!
  • Plus, and Minus – Who will be Wicket-Keeper?
  • Minus – Miss you Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli

India is going into the tournament as defending champions for consecutive times.

Right now, India holds the trophy, thanks to their away series win against Australia in 2018-19. India brought an end to the drought of winning series in Australia in 2018. Virat Kohli took the team to thump victory, but this time he would be expecting to give his best in 1st test and expect Ajinkya Rahane to lead the team to a series win in next 3 matches. He will have to see off a big battle as his captaincy will see a real test on the Boxing Day Test.

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Many experts and pundits feel that the Australian team is in an excellent position to win this series. The predictions of Aussie and Englishmen are in favour of Australia while some Indian experts feel we have at least 50% chance to win the series this time. There are a handful of pandits and the BCCI confident of winning the series.

1st Test in Adelaide is as big as it can get.

Firstly, Virat Kohli will be playing his 1st and only test match of the series. He is on paternity leave for rest of the series. Will this have an impact on team India’s performance? Definitely yes. The Indian team has an Australian in them and that is Virat Kohli. To defeat a team like Aussies you need an aggressive skipper and attacking mindset. Having said that, aggression is not the only way to defeat top teams. Your skill levels matter too.

Skill level with aggression is like a missile with fire on its tip.  Skills with composed tactics are equally dangerous. Incidentally, India will see the two approaches being used by the team. Aggression in 1st match and Composed tactics in the next 3. Both can win matches. But in a way, the board and fans will be keenly observing the captaincy of Virat and Rahane. It’s about which approach can win matches. Let the debate run, also let’s hope that India wins matches.

Indians are known for scalping quick wickets but leak lot of runs in the tail end.

  • Score big for the first 3 wickets
  • Leak less runs for the tailenders
  • Pick up Smith and Warner wickets cheaply
  • Let there be good middle-order partnerships

Hopefully, India will tick all this for all the four matches and try for a win. In conclusion, I see India winning this tournament at 40% probability with a 2-1 margin. India drawing the series with 2-2 or 1-1 margin and that’s a 30% probability. Finally, India losing the series 2-1 or 3-1 at 30% probability. This could be the best test series that India has ever played in Australia.

But… all these predictions can go haywire too. If India doesn’t start well in the first test then you will see India ending up either drawing the series or losing the series. A come back in Australia against Aussies is a gigantic task. For the team without Kohli as a batsman will be difficult to achieve. Moreover not just the series, points are on the line. Australia is in the perfect position to enter Test championship finals, but India isn’t. India should ensure at least 60 points from this series. Otherwise, they will slip to 3rd position.

If India can have a bang on start to the series, we will see best start to the new year for team India. I will be back after two test series to review the series… until then let’s enjoy what is touted to be a breath-taking TEST SERIES!!!