Test Cricket in Australia is one of cricket's most beautiful sights. It is a series that every team and player looks forward to being a part of. It is Virat Kohli's Indian team who have made the trip this summer. The series is one that is set to be the blockbuster cricketing event as we head into the new year.
The Border-Gavaskar series comes at a unique time. Quite possibly, Australian cricket is at its lowest at the moment. Over the past few months, they have struggled as the suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner have hit the team hard. There was no doubting the duo were easily Australia's two best batsmen and taking them away has massively depleted the quality of their team
The build-up to the series has concentrated around the depleted Australian side. It is without a doubt India's best chance to win a test series in Australia. A lot of experts have suggested that India are favorites for the series.
Some fans have also claimed that it will be an easy win for India. However, taking Australia for granted will be a costly mistake for India. If India wishes to succeed down under, it will still require a herculean effort
#3 Australia's batting is still strong at home
Since the ball-tampering saga, the Australian batting is one that has failed to inspire confidence. Neither on paper or performance does the Australian batting look formidable. It is surely an area that any opposition playing against them will fancy at the moment. However, despite their struggles, it is one that is still more than decent at home.
The Marsh brothers are two players who are a symbol of inconsistency. Shaun Marsh's Test average is just 35.29 while Mitchell Marsh averages a mere 25.09. Both are players that Australian fans would rather see replaced in the Test setup. However, at home, they are not as easy to dismiss as England found out last year.
In the 2017-18 Ashes, Shaun Marsh was the second highest run scorer with 445 runs with two centuries to his name at an average of 74.16. Even Mitchell Marsh showed his prowess with the bat scoring 320 runs in only three matches at a tremendous average of 106.66. Like his elder brother, he also had two centuries to his name.
Last month, Australian's new opening pair of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja did their credentials no harm. Finch who is Australia's limited overs captain, playing his first test series, scored 181 runs in the two matches. On the other hand, Khawaja proved a lot of people wrong with some exceptional batting in spin-friendly conditions. While there were massive doubts about his ability in the subcontinent, the same cannot be said about him at home.
The left-handed batter has scored 1544 runs in 18 matches in Australia at a remarkable average of 59.38. Even the other players are more likely to do well at home than fail. Quite evidently, getting through the Australian batting is something Indian bowlers will still have to work really hard for.
#2 A formidable bowling attack
While the Australian batting is not at full strength, all their first choice are bowlers are fit and available for selection. Despite, the team's struggles of late, the current Australian bowling attack is without a doubt the best in the world. The trio of Mitchel Stack, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are a complete pace bowling attack as they have everything one wishes from their pacers.
Each of them averages below 30 and there is not a batting unit in the world which would not fear them. It's a bowling unit which is not dependent on pitches. On the Australian tracks which are not expected to offer swing and seam, they could make a big difference.
To support them, Australia has arguably the best off-spinner of the last few years in their ranks in Nathan Lyon. The 31-year-old is someone who has produced the goods for Australia all over the world. He is one player who has been a consistently troubled the Indian team. Against the world number test team, Lyon has taken 64 wickets in 14 matches.
While the batting unit of hosts is vulnerable, the Australian bowling is sure to cause India major troubles. How well Virat Kohli's side play them could well decide the series.
#1 History is not on India's side
If India is to win in Australia, it will be a historic occasion. Never in the history of the game has India won a Test series in Australia. Since becoming a cricketing force, India has travelled to Australia 11 times for a test series but have never come back as victorious.
There have been three series that have finished in draws and a couple of close shouts but never an Indian victory. At home, Australia has always had the better of the Indians
Even in the recent past, India barely have anything significant to look back at. The men in blue did not win a single test in their last two visits to Australia. Since beating New Zealand in 2009, India has won a single Test series outside the subcontinent except for West Indies. Since 2011, they have only won three matches out of 30 in the "SENA" countries. This year India travelled to South Africa and England and lost both series.
If India wishes to win in Australia they will have to do something no Indian team has done before. More importantly, this group of players will have to produce the best performances of their careers so far.