The two cricketing heavyweights- Team Australia and India will lock horns in the longest format of the game at the Adelaide Oval from the 17th of December. The teams come into this 4-match series after a thrilling limited-encounters, where both the teams once again proved it was very difficult to separate them.
The last time the two sides in a Test series, the visitors came out on top after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2-1. Once again it does look promising that the series will be closely fought and it would be exciting to see which team comes on top.
The hosts ranked No.1 in the ICC Test ranking courtesy of the new ranking system. The Men in Blue have dropped to third place after the Kiwis managed to white-wash the West Indians 2-0. Said that a series win here for Team India could once again see them on top of the rankings.
Can the Aussies seek redemption this time around? Or will the Indians replicate the same performance as the last time they were in the Country?
Head to Head
Matches Played- 98, Australia- 42, India- 28, Draw- 27, Tied- 1
Australia will be playing without the services of many of their key players. They would miss out on David Warner and Will Puckovski at the top of the order as both of them were ruled out due to injuries. Said that they would feel a lot relieved with their spearhead Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins being adjourned fit to play.
The visitors on the other side have not reported any injuries and the squad looks match fit. The announcement of the Indian team by BCCI over twitter meant that the Indian team has decided to go ahead with Prithvi Shaw over Shubman Gill at the top and a huge surprise being that of KL Rahul, who misses out and Wriddhiman Saha had been given the job behind the stumps.
Pitch and Conditions
The Adelaide strip is known to be a batsman-friendly one but it does have a bit for the pacers as well. The occasional overcast conditions and given the fact that the match is a Day/Night one could help the pacers generate enough swing to disrupt the momentum of the batsmen.
Overall, it could be a tough battle between the bat and ball. Said that, if the batsmen manage to play the new ball they are likely to score big. The pink ball could prove to be tough to play for the batsmen, given the breezy conditions, and will likely have to be extra cautious in the first few overs.
The conditions are well in favor of cricket throughout the five days as clear skies are expected on all 5 days. The temperature is expected to hover in the range of 19-14 degree range and the humidity at the peak is anticipated to touch the 52 percent range.
Probable Playing Xl
Australia (Aus): Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(C/Wk), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood
India (Ind): Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Hanuman Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
Steve Smith (Aus) vs Ravichandran Ashwin (Ind)
Aussie No.3 is undoubtedly one of the best batsman in the World and a stunning average of 63 backs up the claims. The barrier between Team India and win could be Smith. Virat Kohli and Co. would know how important it would get him out early and there could no one better than the experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to do the job.
Will Smith go on to score big and take the Aussies over the line? Or will the foxy off-spinner see his back early?
Mitchell Starc (Aus) vs Cheteshwar Pujara (Ind)
Mitch’hell’ Starc as we know is one of the fiercest test bowlers and his ability to move the ball could prove deadly with the pink ball. On the other side, we have one of the most consistent batsman- Cheteshwar Pujara, the 32-year old has been often compared to the Indian legend Rahul Dravid and he could once again justify that.
Can Starc hit the timber? Or will it be the experienced Pujara who emerges on top?
Both the teams have a very well balanced side and the warm-ups did suggest that the teams are neck to neck. The injuries are a setback for the Aussies, but the record of not being defeated with the pink ball does go in favor.
The pacers of Australia could prove the vital factor in this encounter and the Indian Batsmen will have a tough job playing them in the first overs. Given the fact, the match is played with the pink ball and the conditions favor the Aussies, they seem to have the edge in this encounter.
Cricwizz predicts Australia to win the 1st Test match