Australia vs India Preview, Prediction, 1st Test Likely XIs: Border Gavaskar Trophy 2020/21

Australia vs India preview, predictions, likely XI's, squads, fixtures.

Australia vs India Full Preview

The home summer of Australia is about to get underway vs India and here at Last Word on Sport, we preview the series as a whole.

India is back. Virat Kohli and his men will be hoping to repeat their 2018/19 heroics Down Under. However, this time, standing in their way are two of Australia’s most reliable batsmen. Steve Smith and David Warner. Neither played in the 2018/19 series due to the ball-tampering fiasco earlier that year in Cape Town.

Winning a test match series in Australia is not easy. In fact, it is statistically one of the hardest places for touring teams. In the last decade (2010-2020), only three teams have won a test series Down Under. South Africa won twice, England and India once. Outside the trio, only New Zealand were able to even win a test, let alone a series.

So, just how well will India perform in their upcoming tour?

Part 1: Preview Australia

Australia’s Steve Smith (R) talks to a teammate Marcus Harris during a practice session in Adelaide on December 16, 2020, ahead of the first Test cricket match between Australia and India. (Photo by Brenton EDWARDS / AFP) / –IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE– (Photo by BRENTON EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia’s batting line-up on paper is much stronger than it has been in previous years. Despite missing David Warner for the first test match, Joe Burns and Matthew Wade are likely to fill the opening slots. Both are experienced test players and Burns in particular has a good record in Australian conditions.

Border-Gavaskar series – 5 key battles

The strength, however, comes further down the order. In Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, Australia have two of the finest middle-order batsmen in the modern game. Both can bat for prolonged periods of time and take the game away from the Indians with huge scores.

Strength In Spite

However, if India manage to get past the batting engine, they will fancy their chances against the lower order of Australia. The bowling attack is as strong as ever with Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood forming a formidable quartet.

Part 2: Preview India

India’s captain Virat Kohli (C) attends a training session with teammates in Adelaide on December 15, 2020, ahead of the first Test cricket match between Australia and India. (Photo by Brenton EDWARDS / AFP) (Photo by BRENTON EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

India have confirmed their team and have opted to open with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. Shaw has struggled against the moving ball so far in his career but he will want to set it right this tour. The Kookaburra does not swing for more than 15-20 overs and so how he will start his innings could dictate his tour. Agarwal looked assured on his last visit Down Under in 2018/19. He scored two half-centuries in two games.

The middle order looks solid – similar to that of Australia. Virat Kohli, Cheteswar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are as good a trio as any in world cricket. All three can contribute with huge scores and set India up in the game.

3 players who must step up if India are to win in Australia

It is perhaps a surprise that Wriddhiman Saha has been selected ahead of Rishabh Pant in the eleven for the first test. Pant was the second-highest run-scorer on the tour in 2018/19 and looks a formidable talent.

India’s bowling attack will be without Ishant Sharma – who is ruled out of the test series. However, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav will provide a stern test for the Australian batsmen. Bumrah and Shami were excellent on their last tour and are very much strike bowlers for India. Ravi Ashwin is likely to be the fourth bowler, with Ravi Jadeja replacing him later on in the series.

Practice In The Sun

The Indian bowlers all had a good workout in the practice game against Australia A a couple of days ago. They should be fit and firing, although Jasprit Bumrah’s recent form could be a worry. Australia vs India could be a battle of the bowling attacks, in light of our preview.

Australia vs India Preview: Squads

Australian Cricket Squad: Steven Smith, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Burns, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(w/c), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson.

Indian Cricket Squad: Rishabh Pant, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Prithvi Shaw, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Siraj, Wriddhiman Saha(w), KL Rahul.

Picking Australia’s all-time test XI

The Fixtures

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 16: A general view of the Adelaide Oval after an Australian training session before the first Test match against India at Adelaide Oval on December 16, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Picking India’s all-time test XI

ODI’s

November 27: 1st ODI (SCG), November 29: 2nd ODI (SCG), December 1: 3rd ODI (Manuka Oval)

T20I’s

December 4: 1st T20I (Manuka Oval), December 6: 2nd T20I (SCG), December 8: 3rd T20I (SCG)

Analysis of the India squads for the tour of Australia

Tests

December 17-21: 1st Test (Adelaide Oval), December 26-30: 2nd Test (MCG), January 7-11: 3rd Test (SCG), January 15-19: 4th Test (Brisbane)

The Cricketer has provided the list of these fixtures and more information can be found below.

Likely XI’s First Test:

Australia: Matthew Wade, Joe Burns, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Rishabh Pant at number 7 is “Similar to Adam Gilchrist.”

India: Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteswar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

Predictions 

With Virat Kohli unavailable for three test matches, due to the birth of his child, Australia have the advantage. Coupled up with home advantage and a near full-strength Australian squad, back the hosts to win the series 2-1.

We hope you enjoyed our Australia vs India full preview.

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