Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Australia vs India: What the pundits are predicting for the Test series

Australia vs India: What the pundits are predicting for the Test series

With Australia in turmoil, India are "smelling blood" but Virat Kohli's men would also be under great pressure to perform during the four-Test series starting here Thursday, coach Justin Langer said Wednesday. The series is even more important for captain Kohli as it would also define his legacy as a leader having already established himself as world's premier batsman.

But the Indians have never won a Test series in Australia and if pace bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are firing the tourists could be in for another tough time.

Rohit last played Test cricket in South Africa and a awful series for him saw just 78 runs in four innings while batting at number five.

India will pick their playing XI for the first Test against Australia from the 12 players which was announced on Wednesday.

"Absolutely, India will start favourites in the Test series".

Without Marsh's seamers, there will be added pressure on Lyon, the greatest finger-spinner the country has produced, to maintain his exemplary form, which would enable Paine to give his quicks longer breaks between spells.

"It's just about picking your time and picking your moment and doing what the team requires", he said.

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Paine confirmed Marcus Harris would make his Test debut and open the batting with Aaron Finch in the series opener, Australia's first home Test since Steve Smith and David Warner were banned over the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

The previous series between the two rivals have been heated, with the combative Kohli usually front and centre.

"I just had an interview with Ricky Ponting and we went through the names of Australian Test captains over the years so it is a little bit daunting to be in a bracket with some of those guys".

India captain Virat Kohli with Australia skipper Tim Paine.

But veteran opener Murali Vijay, who was dropped following a pair in the second Test against England this year, rose to the challenge with a century in the same match and is expected to face the new ball with KL Rahul.

Rohit Sharma is likely to be the player to be left out if Vihari gets the nod at number six but that appears to be the only question mark as the rest of the team is relatively settled, and they do rely heavily once again on their top seven batsmen as the tail does lack quality with the bat unlike the hosts.

"He's shown that over the last few years, he bowled a mountain of overs in the UAE and our quicks are fresh so we can cover that".

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