IND vs AUS 2023: It's almost time. India and Australia are all set to wear their whites and clash with each other in the historic Border-Gavaskar Trophy. As the Test matches start, the contest between the 'Baggy Blue' and the 'Baggy Green' will intensify. India are the defending champions of the coveted trophy and they will want to retain the title of champions for the fourth consecutive time. In the recent past, India have been utterly dominant over the Aussies and since 2017 the Kangaroos haven't been able to defeat India as far as this series is considered.
India had their backs to the wall as they sustained massive injury blows to their squad in the 2020-21 edition. With India getting bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the first Test match and Virat Kohli flying back to India for the birth of his first child, nobody had given India any chance, but how they bounced back is a tale that is one for the ages and the Aussies will be desperate to bounce back and end India's dominance. The contest definitely will be high-octane and here are five major things to watch out for.
1. Test cricket returns to India
It has been 11 months since the last Test match was played on Indian soil. The Indian fans treat cricket as a religion and the players are nothing less than demigods. With the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), many feel that the longest format of the game is taking a hit, but as far as the Indian audiences are concerned, they enjoy cricket to the fullest irrespective of the format. The Indian cricket team last played a Test series against Sri Lanka in March 2022 and won it by a margin of 2-0. There is much more to this series than more than the trophy. If India manage to dominate the Aussies, they will be in with a chance to play the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
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2. Return of Ravindra Jadeja
Spin is a word that plays on the minds of every overseas batsman who visits India to play Test matches. India are certainly blessed to have somebody like Ravindra Jadeja at their disposal who is equally good both with the bat and the ball. Jadeja brings a much-needed balance to the team ahead of this marquee tournament. The Chennai Super Kings all-rounder missed cricketing action for more than 5 months due to a serious knee injury followed by surgery. he recently marked his return in a Ranji Trophy game against Tamil Nadu and scalped 7 wickets in the 2nd innings.
3. The Lyon Challenge
Team India undoubtedly start as favourites, but they will never make the mistake of undermining the threat that the Aussies have as a unit. The Australians have someone like Lyon at their disposal. Nathan Lyon undoubtedly is one of the finest bowlers around with the red ball in his hands. Nathan Lyon will hold the key to Australia's success and is India's answer to Jadeja and Ashwin. Lyon has picked up 34 wickets in the last 7 games that he has played in India. Interestingly in the 2016-17 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Lyon was the joint-highest wicket-taker (19) for the Aussies
4. RoHitman factor
Just like Australian skipper Pat Cummins, Rohit Sharma will lead his team for the first time in a Border-Gavaskar series. As far as the home Test matches go, Rohit Sharma holds an impeccable record and might make the Aussies pay. Skipper Sharma has scored 1760 runs in 20 Test matches at an average of 73.33. Unfortunately, Rohit doesn't enjoy a great record in Test matches against the Aussies. In 7 Test matches, Rohit Sharma has scored just 408 runs at an average of 31.38. His highest against the Aussies is just 63*.
5. Spearhead Siraj
Pace, aggression, and immaculate line and length, when you put all of these three things together, you get someone like Mohammed Siraj who is in the form of his life. He enjoyed a decent run against New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the recently concluded white ball home series. In the 2020-21 edition, Mohammed Siraj was India's highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps in 3 Test matches. In his short career of 15 Test matches, Mohammed Siraj has taken 46 wickets at an average of 30.39.
The first Test match of the series will start on February 9, 2023, and will be played in the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur. Australian pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will miss out due to injury concerns and this might certainly give India some advantage.