Calcutta: Sunday will be an opportunity for boys to be men, when the Indian colts lock horns with their Australian counterparts in the U-19 World Cup final.
And to say that it will be India's sternest test in the tournament so far, will be saying too little. Australia, the defending champions, have had a great World Cup so far while on the other hand the Indians have picked up bits and pieces victories.
Patchy in batting with some of their top order batsmen not showing the desired consistency, the Indians will have to raise their game in conditions that have favoured the bowlers at the Tony Ireland Stadium, in Townsville.
Australia won the event in 1988, 2002 and 2010, and is not only bidding to win their fourth title but also to become only the second side after Pakistan to win back-to-back titles (2004 and 2006). However, India captain Unmukt Chand is aiming to become the third India captain to put a hand on the trophy after Mohammed Kaif and Virat Kohli lifted the Cup in 2000 and 2008, respectively.
Australia have been in good form in this tournament and is the only unbeaten side to date. In the first round, they defeated England by six wickets, Nepal by 212 runs and Ireland by six wickets, before overcoming Bangladesh by five wickets in the quarter final and South Africa by four wickets in the semi-final.
In contrast, India made a sluggish start to the tournament when they lost to the West Indies by four wickets before qualifying for the Super League stage by defeating Zimbabwe by 63 runs and Papua New Guinea by 107 runs. In the Super League quarter final, they beat Pakistan by one wicket and then defeated New Zealand by nine runs.
The two sides have previously met three times in the U-19 World Cup, with Australia winning twice and India once. Overall, there is nothing to choose between the two sides as both have won 14 matches apiece in the tournament's history.
The two sides last met in April this year, at the same venue, in the quadrangular series final. In that game, India successfully chased down a 195-run target to beat Australia by five wickets with 44 balls to spare.
Australia captain Will Bosisto, who has scored 189 runs in the tournament so far, said his boys were raring to play in the final. "All the boys are rapt and ready to go for Sunday. Obviously, it is pretty exciting for us to be in a final. There will be lots of people watching us on TV and at the ground so it is a big occasion for us," he said. Chand said his side were used to the conditions in Townsville and hoped for a strong performance in the final.
"I am very optimistic about the final. We have played Australia in Australia and that too at the same venue. We are used to the conditions, and should do well," said Chand, who is yet to produce his best batting performance, having managed just 135 runs so far in the event.
Surprisingly, no batsman from either side figures in the list of top 16 run-getters. Cameron Bancroft with 194 runs is in 17th position and Bosisto is 19th, while India's Prashant Chopra with 172 runs is 23rd and Vijay Zol with 150 runs is 33rd on the table.
With the ball, India's Ravikant Singh has bagged 11 wickets and Kamal Passi has claimed 10 wickets, while Ashton Turner with 10 wickets and Gurinder Sandhu with nine wickets are Australia's leading wicket-takers.