IND vs AUS, 1st Test: Head to Head, Playing XI, Preview, Where to Watch on TV, Online, and Live Streaming Details
The series comprises four Test matches that will be played in Nagpur, Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad respectively.
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The champers might still be flowing in the hallway leading to the Australian dressing room given the way they fared in the recent sub-continent tours - their historic win in Pakistan and the sheer character and tenacity they displayed in Sri Lanka, but the time granted for the hangover is well and truly over now.
Reality is about to strike. They say, reality is often disappointing. To face India in India. To fight one's own demons in their mind against spin. Tackle reverse swing and what not? But they also say, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
There's always a sense of nervousness and excitement just before a major series, especially if it is India and Australia. Fire vs Ice. Pace vs Spin. Technique vs Temperament. After an extraordinary build-up, some quality cricket being played might be quite a relief to India and Australia and their *fans.
Though there is nothing much that separates the two sides on the points table of the World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle, they do vary in many ways. The strengths, weaknesses, philosophy, and mindset, and while both teams are on the road all year long, one can literally be seen playing every other weekend.
India has been, for a while, the traditional venue of Australian nightmares. The openers struggle, the middle-order suffers from scepticism, and then there is Ravichandran Ashwin. Players lose sleep over the nature of the surfaces, and if they manage to survive, end up in press conferences talking about spin.
The Australian side landed in Bengaluru and kicked off their preparations in Alur, a 60-min drive from Bengaluru where the National Cricket Academy organised for their training camp. The visitors also called for an Ashwin impersonator to tackle India's wily spinner. But with just ten days in India to adjust to the conditions, will the plan backfire? Or do they have things under control?
India, on the other hand, have been powering through practice sessions and have added plenty of spin bowling options to their net bowling arsenal. The likes of Saurabh Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Sai Kishore, and Washington Sundar, to name a few, and the questions regarding the nature of the surface for the first Test of the series have already been answered with the dryness reported underneath the wicket at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur.
India are familiar with what difference one man can make and have, in his absence, shown a heartening fight on numerous occasions. History tells us that India are clear-cut favourites but does the present, speak the same?
Rohit Sharma leading the troops, Virat Kohli in prime form, Shubman Gill dazzling brighter than ever, Ravichandran Ashwin sticking to his mind games, left arm spin-twins who could wrap up a game in a session or two and Mohammad Shami with his immaculate ability to make the ball talk.
Invincibles at home? There's just one way to find out. VCA Stadium, Nagpur, First Test, Thursday, February 09. A long-awaited redemption on the cards for the visitors? Or the same old storyline?
Pitch and Conditions
The first glimpse of the surface at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur shows that it has a tinge of grass above but looks dry underneath. The batters could pile on the runs for the first five to six sessions but the slightest amount of grass will also offer bowlers something to work with early in the morning and then spin could possibly dictate terms.
Probable Playing XI for IND vs AUS 1st Test
India's biggest headache is finding a batting replacement for Rishabh Pant who could go hammer and tongs when India are under pressure. Ishan Kishan at five? Or Shubman Gill? Should Ravindra Jadeja be promoted up the order to manage the right and left combination? Regardless of who makes the cut, the Indians will be licking their lips after taking a glimpse of the Nagpur surface.
Probable Playing XI - Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami
Two spinners or three? Play fire with fire? Unleash the wild thing? These are the questions Pat Cummins and the think-tank will have to find an answer to. Attack is the best form of defence but is the juice worth the squeeze in these conditions? Will the Aussies put their mantra aside and go with 'spin it to win it' with redemption at the back of their minds?
Probable Playing XI - David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (c), Lance Morris, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon
IND vs AUS Head-to-Head
Played- 102 | India - 30 | Australia - 43 | Draw - 28 | Tied - 1
IND vs AUS Broadcast & Live Streaming Details
Venue - VCA Stadium, Nagpur
Match Timings - 09:30 AM IST
TV- Star Sports Network
Live Streaming- Disney+ Hotstar
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