One of the more mouth-watering Test series of the winter is almost upon us as Virat Kohli takes his number one ranked India side to Australia for a four match series which promises plenty of fireworks and extremely competitive action.
Australia are building up for The Ashes next summer but this is a belting series in its own right and they can give themselves a huge boost if they can come out on top in it. Everyone wants to beat the number one side and Australia will be no different.
1st Test: 6-10 Dec at Adelaide
2nd Test: 14-18 Dec at Perth
3rd Test: 26-30 Dec at Melbourne
4th Test: 2-6 Jan at Sydney
The Australians have played two Test series in 2018 and they have lost them both so they will be eager to win this one to restore a little bit of equilibrium in their cricket and build a little bit of form heading into a huge 2019 for them. Looking from afar you get the impression that Australia are on the edge of a major crisis in their cricket and defeat in this series could tip them over the edge.
There should be a degree of confidence in the Australians heading into this series though because they are generally pretty solid on their own patch but if they are going to win it they are going to have to bat a whole lot better than we’ve seen them do in quite some time. Even when England were in Australia last year, the Australian top order never really delivered the goods.
This is India’s second high profile away series in 2018 after they went to England in the summer. India were a whole lot more competitive than a 4-1 scoreline suggested and there is no doubt they are an improved side overseas but they need to show they can win matches away from home and not just individual sessions.
Much like Australia, India’s hopes of winning the series will depend on their batting too. Virat Kohli is pretty much booked in for runs whenever he goes out to the crease these days. If he can find a couple of men to go with him and launch good totals into special ones then this could well be the breakthrough tour for the visitors. As we saw in England though, that is anything but guaranteed.
Head to Head
These two nations have played in 25 previous head to head series with Australia coming out on top in 12 of them and India in eight. There have been five drawn series in that time. 11 of those series have been in Australia and India have never won a series there. They have drawn three and lost eight so history is against them.
It is against them to the point that out of 44 Tests these two sides have played in Australia, India have won just five which really highlights the size of the task awaiting the tourists over the next month or so.
I think Australia will win this series but the draw possibility and their indifferent batting scares me a little when it comes to betting on them. I might just take them to win some of the matches as we go along. There are two bets that I like though and the obvious one is Virat Kohli to be the leading batsman in the series for the tourists. Kohli made 64 in the warm up match and 60 odd in the last T20. He is clearly the best batsman in this side. In the summer he finished 294 runs ahead of anyone else in the series against England and that needed a 149 in the last innings of it from KL Rahul for a player to get that close. The longer this series goes on the more I expect Australia to focus on the other end for their wickets. He might only be 10/11 but injury aside he’ll be the top scorer here.
The Indian seamers won’t get the seam movement in Australia that they got in England in the summer and the swing won’t be as paramount either so I think Ravi Ashwin will be their leading bowler in the series. He is going to have to get through plenty of overs in this series especially with India abandoning their five bowler ploy. I would be surprised if India are able to play the same three seamers throughout the series and while Jasprit Bumrah is a fair challenger I think the weight of bowling Ashwin will have, coupled with the inability Australia show against spin, that he will come out with the most wickets.
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