Virat Kohli had mentioned in the pre-match press conference ahead of the first Border Gavaskar Trophy Test that it’s time for Ajinkya Rahane to step up in the absence of the Indian captain from the second Test onwards. Rahane will have big boots to fill but he has done it before in Kohli’s absence in a Test match against the same opposition at Dharamshala. He could be the one to look out for in the upcoming series along with a few others.
Let’s take them up one by one.
It’s a battle of two world-class bowling attacks which will be spearheaded by India’s Jasprit Bumrah. His last tour of Australia was a fairly successful one. In the four match Test series, last time India were on Australian soil, Jasprit Bumrah wreaked havoc in the opposition batting line-up. He managed to pick 21 wickets at an average of 17 which included a six wicket haul as well. He’ll hold the key this time around as well.
In just a small career so far as a Test cricketer, Marnus Labuschagne has earned himself quite a reputation. He has scored four centuries in fourteen matches and averages 63.44 with the bat. He has made that crucial number three position his own and is one of the batting stalwarts for Australia for this tour. All his four hundreds have come at home and that tells you how important his wicket would be for the Indians.
As mentioned earlier, Ajinkya Rahane will go into this series with the added responsibility of leading his country hopefully to a series win down under. This will be Rahane’s third tour of Australia and probably his most important one. His record on Australian soil is a decent one. He averages 44.00 which includes one century at Melbourne. He’ll need lead from the front and need to take those bold calls whenever it’s necessary.
Australia’s new crowned vice-captain, Pat Cummins was one of the only positives Australia could take from the previous Border-Gavaskar trophy. Even though Cummins made his Test debut back in 2011, majority of his matches have come in the last three years. His potential was never underestimated but his injury record was always a cause of concern. He has come a long way post those injury layoffs and now is the leader of the Australian attack. His record against India is a promising one, taking 22 wickets in the six matches he has played against them and also averages almost 20 with the bat. He’ll be one to look out for from the Australian team.
R Ashwin will be India’s most experienced bowler in the team. This will be the off-spinner’s fourth tour of Australia and since the first one in 2011, he has improved leaps and bounds. He might not have the best bowling record Down Under but now he is experienced enough to hold one end up and come into the game on day four and five of a Test match. In the last few overseas tours for India, Ashwin has started as the first-choice spinner and then through various injuries lost his place in the team. Hopefully, we get to see him for all four Test matches as he is bowling as well as he has ever bowled in Test cricket.
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