Australia vs India: Five intriguing face-offs to look out for in the Test series

Australia vs India: Five intriguing face-offs to look out for in the Test series

The four-match series is expected to be a closely-fought one.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The 2017 Border-Gavaskar series was a hard fought one and we witnessed many heated, intense and competitive battles. To be honest, the iconic series lost it’s flair and became a bit too one-sided during the 2008-12 time frame. However, things changed when a young Virat Kohli took the battle to the Aussies on their turf, not to mention, he was handed over the reins following a shock retirement by MS Dhoni after the third Test.

Although the hosts won the series, by a margin of 2-0, the series was much closer than what the scoreline suggested and that’s because a relatively inexperienced Indian team failed to cash in on the huge game-changing moments. That series of 14-15 was a revolutionary one for the Indian side and currently, they are the number one ranked Test team. In 2017, India won the series by a close margin of 2-1.

However, the unforgettable series of 2017, reignited some old memories and added a bit of fuel to the existing one. Even though the hosts are battling with the absence of their two stalwarts in the batting line-up, they are very much threatening at home and with the crowds expected to be hostile towards the touring side, we are bound to witness some insane on-field duels.

Let’s have a look at the 5 key player battles that could decide the outcome of this year’s Border-Gavaskar series.

Aaron Finch vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Aaron Finch
Aaron Finch. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Bhuvneshwar is back in the Test squad and he will be leading the bowling attack for India. The visiting team is likely to go with Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah and possibly, Mohammed Shami in their playing eleven. Bhuvi can swing the ball both ways early on in the innings and that’s how he gets most of his wickets.

With his increased pace, Bhuvneshwar will be a lethal force on the Australian tracks. In the absence of David Warner, the opening duties on Aaron Finch’s shoulders are heavy as ever. Finch is a game changer who has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in a matter of a few sessions.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar of Indi
Bhuvneshwar Kumar of India. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Although these two haven’t faced each other yet, in Tests, Bhuvneshwar holds the upper hand against the Australian limited-overs captain. Bhuvi has dismissed Finch on numerous occasions in the IPL. In fact, Finch was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar in the recently concluded second T20I in the three-match series.

Finch has a tendency to keep his legs planted to the crease early on in his innings which makes him vulnerable to the one that comes in. So far, Bhuvaneshwar has exploited his shortcoming very well and it remains to be seen if he can repeat the same in red-ball cricket.

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