Australia v India Tour: All Match Previews

The Indian Cricket Tour of Australia is here and on this page, we’ll have previews of every single match between Ind vs Aus.

India come to Australia in good form, outclassing the West Indies on their recent tour and have their eyes firmly set on the 2019 Cricket World Cup, led by their captain Virat Kohli.

Check out the Betfair Hub for all the previews on this summer of cricket. For value odds, head to the Betfair Exchange.


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Friday December 14th, 1:20pm AEDT, Optus Stadium

After going down in a pulsating finish to the series opener, Australia will be looking to bounce back with victory over India in the second test at Optus Stadium, beginning on Friday.

Australia

The hosts actually got off to a perfect start in Adelaide, reducing India to 6/127 after being asked to field first, however a late-innings fightback from the visitors saw them reach a competitive 250 with new ball partners Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood snaring three wickets apiece.

The Aussies replicated their opponents’ struggles with the bat on a slowish pitch, reaching an identical 6/127 before Travis Head (72) led a similar recovery that saw them fall 15 runs short of India’s first innings total.

However it was at this point that the game appeared to drift away from the home side with the Indians cruising to 3/234 before prolific off-spinner Nathan Lyon ran through their middle and lower order, claiming 6/122 off 42 overs, with India bowled out for 307, leaving the Australians an unlikely 323 for victory.

The chase started with a series of Australian batsmen getting starts but failing to go on with it, leaving them at 4/104 at stumps on day four. A classy 60 from Shaun Marsh in conjunction with some brave tail-end efforts from Pat Cummins (28), Mitchell Starc (28) and Nathan Lyon (38 not out) dragged the Aussies to within 31 runs of the target before they succumbed on an engaging final day.

Captain Tim Paine who also made a fighting 41 is expected to shake off a blow to the finger he copped in Adelaide so there shouldn’t be any changes to the Australian XI although plenty of their batsmen will be under pressure to deliver some runs.


India

For India it was a mix of elation and relief as they secured their first ever win in the opening match of a test series in Australia. Man of the match Cheteshwar Pujara played a defining knock in the first innings, with his patient 123 off 246 balls saving the visitors from a paltry first innings score.

Equally notable was the effort of their bowling attack to strangle the Australian batting unit, with particular highlights coming from awkward seamer Jasprit Bumrah (3/47) and experienced spinner Ravi Ashwin (3/57) who made the most of appreciable turn early in the test match.

Pujara made another vital contribution in India’s second innings, top-scoring with 71, although this time he had support with an elegant 70 to vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane as well as a punchy 44 from opener Lokesh Rahul.

Captain Virat Kohli will be concerned that his side lost their final four wickets for just four runs and did not set Australia a more formidable total. His concern would only have grown deep into the second session on day five as Australia’s tail crept closer to a famous victory.

Fast-bowlers Bumrah (3/68) and Mohammed Shami (3/65) kept them ahead of the game, before Ashwin claimed the final scalp to finish with 3/92 off 52.5 overs after earlier struggling to make the sort of impact expected of him on a final day Adelaide pitch.

India are also likely to carry in the same XI to Perth with young opener Prithvi Shaw still struggling with an ankle injury, while Rohit Sharma is expected to hold off Hanuma Vihari in the number six spot.


Optus Stadium

Very little international cricket has been played at Perth Stadium with two just low-scoring ODIs in which Australia were bowled out for meagre totals of 247 and 152. The best guide may be the Sheffield Shield match played here between Western Australia and Victoria in October where the home side were knocked over for 208 and 251 either side of the Bushrangers racking up 504.

The pitch is expected to favour Australia with more pace and bounce. If there is any seam movement, I would expect their batsmen’s struggles to continue.


Key Stats

*Australia have lost consecutive tests at home only once in the past seven years.

*In their past six tests, Australia’s average score in their first innings of the match is 217.

*Between them, Australia’s four frontline bowlers have taken 115 wickets in tests this year.

*India haven’t won consecutive tests outside of Asia since 2006.

*In their past six away tests, India’s average score in their first innings of the match is 254.

*Between them, India’s four frontline bowlers have averaged 24.87 in tests this year.


The Verdict

Once again there is very little separating the sides with Australia favoured by the barest of margins at this stage ahead of India, with the draw finding very few backers in the market.

Although they ultimately went down, it was hard not to best impressed by the grit and determination shown by the Aussies on the final day in Adelaide and the fact they got so close suggests there is still plenty of belief in their camp.

There is still a major quandary surrounding their batting and whether they can stitch together enough runs to be competitive at this level. The pitch at Perth is expected to favour their bowling attack, however if that is the case it is difficult not to see it further hindering their misfiring batting unit.

There were plenty of promising signs for India, highlighted by the obdurate efforts of Pujara as well as some potential from the likes of Rahane and Rahul, while you’d think it’s only a matter of time before Kohli finds a way to score some significant runs.

Moreover their bowling attack was relentlessly accurate, troubling plenty of the Australian batsmen when they appeared to be set. However the one thing putting me off backing the visitors outright is the mystery surrounding what sort of pitch we will get at Perth Stadium and a long history of failing to put together consecutive performances in this country.

Until we see any signs of both teams displaying application and dominance with the bat it’s difficult to show any interest in the draw. It’s quite instructive that although runs rates were relatively sedate across the entire first test, the draw never really came into play and as such I’ll be leaving it well alone here.

So this looms as another match-up of high-quality bowling against questionable batting, although where we may be able to exploit this is at the toss where the winner of the coin-flip is expected to bat.

Batting first is no doubt an advantage, but as we have seen not just at Adelaide but throughout 2018, neither team has been able to consistently post the sort of total that gets them ahead of the game.

We will wait for the team who wins the toss and bat to shorten and then oppose them in the expectation that a below-par score will see their price drift, before backing them to lock in profit.

Betting Strategy

 LAY to BACK – First batting team at 2.30 or better for 2 units (trade out at 3.25 or better).

Thursday December 6th, 11:00am AEDT, Adelaide Oval

Australia

Australia will be looking to maintain their stranglehold over India in home conditions, with the visitors having never won a test series Down Under. However they face a huge challenge to maintain the status quo, especially as they are without star batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner who are still serving a suspension for the ball-tampering fiasco.

As a result the Aussies will lean heavily on the fit-again Usman Khawaja and inconsistent Shaun Marsh, whilst hoping that the likes of Aaron Finch and Travis Head kick on after some promising returns against Pakistan in the UAE.

With all-rounder Mitchell Marsh set to also retain his spot in the middle-order there appears to be a battle for the final place in the top six between uncapped opener Marcus Harris and the recalled Peter Handscomb, however Queenslander Marnus Labuschagne has been omitted.

The bowling attack is far more settled with pace triumvirate Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins back together again for another home summer, ably complemented by off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

There will also be plenty of eyes on captain Tim Paine who leads the side into a new era of unprecedented focus on the team’s conduct on the field, following the events in Cape Town eight months ago.

India

India come into the series as the number one ranked side in the ICC rankings and will be hoping they can add a series win in Australia to a long list of recent scalps. Captain Virat Kohli undoubtedly holds the key, although he will need help from his established middle-order colleagues Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

Lokesh Rahul seems set to take one opening position and he was to be joined by teenage prodigy Prithvi Shaw, however an ankle injury suffered in the warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI may have opened the door for Murali Vijay who was dropped during India’s tour of England.

Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is already sidelined with a back compliant, leaving Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma to jostle for the number six position, while ‘keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will be hoping he can provide the X-factor after an encouraging start to his test career.

If the visitors are to claim the series, they’ll need their much-improved bowling attack to fire with quicks Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav all keen to prove their wares in these conditions, along with seasoned spinner Ravi Ashwin who has struggled on previous tours to Australia.

Adelaide Oval

Although Australia traditionally begin their summer at the Gabba, they shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable about starting at the Adelaide Oval where they have lost only once in their last 14 outings.

Both captains will no doubt be keen to bat first, with the side batting second winning only two of the past seven tests at Adelaide, although it should be noted that unlike the last three tests here, this will not be day/night fixture.

Key Stats

*Australia have lost four of their past five tests, drawing the other one.

*However Australia are undefeated in their last nine tests at home.

*Australia have lost only one of their last 14 tests at the Adelaide Oval.

*India have won 11 of their past 13 test series’.

*However India have lost their last two series’ away from home and have never won a test series in Australia.

*Virat Kohli has top-scored in eight of his past 16 test innings’.

The Verdict

Very little separates the sides with Australia narrow favourites over India, leaving the draw a distant third option.

The Aussies come into this series with plenty of question marks, particularly over their batting sans Smith and Warner and with a few recent struggles on foreign shores.

However they retain an excellent bowling attack which is perfectly suited to the conditions and their record on home soil is so imposing that I don’t wish to oppose them straight up.

However nor do I want to take on India, chiefly because they have a batting unit that is capable of thwarting the highly-regarded Australian attack but also because their brigade of pace bowlers has made giant strides in recent times, especially away from the sub-continent.

Nevertheless a few slip-ups away to England and South Africa has me remaining wary over their chances, so I’ll also be letting their price go through to the ‘keeper.

That leaves the draw as our last option, however it is not a particularly palatable one with the Australian batsmen having shown they are prone to collapse, while their counterparts are still largely unproven in this country.

Furthermore both sides possess potent bowling attacks, so for now I’ll be leaving the match odds to one side and exploring elsewhere for some value.

That value appears to lie with the indomitable Indian captain. Since the start of 2017 Kohli has plundered 2,122 runs at an incredible average of 60.53.

Moreover he has had particular success in recent away series’ to England and South Africa, topping the run-scoring charts for India in both series’ by some distance. Having top-scored in eight of his past 16 innings’ at test level, I’m backing the Indian skipper to do so again here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Virat Kohli Top India 1st Inns Bat at 3.00 or better for 1 unit.

Sunday November 25th, 6:50pm AEDT, SCG

Match Overview

After a washout at the MCG, Australia and India travel to Sydney for the third and final T20I on Sunday night.

In Game Two, Australia were once again sent into bat, however this time they failed to fire, scrambling to 7/132 after 19 overs before the rain arrived. They made another poor start in the opening overs, reduced to 3/35 inside the powerplay before a rescue mission was performed by the inexperienced Ben McDermott (32 not out off 30 balls) alongside Nathan Coulter-Nile (18 off 9 balls) who came into the side as a late replacement for Billy Stanlake.

Should Stanlake shake off an ankle injury he sustained in the warm-up it seems likely that Coulter-Nile will still be retained after also contributing some vital runs with the bat in the ODIs against South Africa.

India’s bowlers were excellent at the MCG with left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed (2/39 off four overs) the only visitor to exceed in excess of seven runs an over. Kuldeep Yadav (1/23 off four overs) and Krunal Pandya (1/26 off four overs) both had the hosts in a spin, while Jaspir Bumrah picked up 1/20 off his four overs, using impressive variations of pace and length.

After a narrow loss at the Gabba, then being cruelled by the rain at the MCG, I fancy the Indians will finally secure their first win over Australia in this tour to square the series.

Key Stats

*Australia have won only two of their past nine completed T20Is against India.

*India haven’t lost a T20I series since July 2017.

*When bowling first India have conceded 160 or more in only three of their past 10 T20Is.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – India at 1.75 or better for 1 unit.

Friday November 23rd, 6:50pm AEDT, MCG

Match Overview

Having claimed a narrow 4-run win in Brisbane on Wednesday, Australia will be looking to secure the series with another victory against India in the second T20I at the MCG on Friday night.

After losing the toss and being sent into bat, Australia made a relatively sedate start with only 42 from the first seven overs before the explosive trio of Chris Lynn (37 off 20 balls), Glenn Maxwell (46 off 24 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (33 off 19 balls) got to work, powering the hosts to 4/158 from 17 overs in a rain-reduced match. A superb spell from recalled leg-spinner Adam Zampa (2/22 off four overs) gave the Aussies the ascendency, before Stoinis (2/27 off three overs) closed the match out by successfully defending 13 in the last over. Of more concern to the home side will be the profligate returns of Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye who combined for 2/90 off just seven overs, opening the door for state teammate Nathan Coulter-Nile to come into the side.

Wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the star for India with the ball, claiming 2/24 off four overs, however fellow tweaker Krunal Pandya (0/55 off four overs) and rookie paceman Khaleel Ahmed (1/42 off three overs) were both powerless to stop Australia’s middle-order surge. The visitors’ chase was underpinned by opener Shikhar Dhawan who struck a brutal 76 off 42 balls, however with the exception of Dinesh Karthik (30 off 13 balls) he lacked the requisite support to get the Indians over the line. Whilst it was Dhawan who dominated at the Gabba, look for his opening partner Rohit Sharma to make a mark in Melbourne.

Key Stats

Australia have won five of their past six T20Is at home.

India have won eight of their past ten T20Is away from home.

Rohit Sharma has top-scored in five of his past 11 T20Is.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rohit Sharma Top India Batsman at 3.75 or better for 1 unit.

Wednesday November 21st, 6:50pm AEDT, The Gabba

Match Overview

India’s tour of Australia commences on Wednesday night with the first of three T20 Internationals at the Gabba between the highly-rated visitors and misfiring hosts.

Australia’s recent run of outs continued on Saturday night when they went down to South Africa in a one-off T20 at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium. In a rain-affected affair the Aussies won the toss and sent the Proteas into bat.

However their bowlers struggled for control with Glenn Maxwell (1/14 off two overs) the only to concede less than nine runs an over as the South African’s racked up an impressive 6/108 in 10 overs. Maxwell was also the lone shining light with an explosive 38 off 23 balls as the home side fell 21 runs short to register yet another loss.

While India’s feats in test and ODI cricket are well documented, their recent results in the shortest format of the game have arguably been most impressive, winning their past seven T20I series’. That success has been driven by the top-order feats of Shikhar Dhawan and vice-captain Rohit Sharma who between them have combined for over 1000 runs in T20Is this year.

The ball wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have left their opponents in a spin, averaging just 15.74 at an economy rate of 7.40 in 2018. Although they are first-up here, it’s hard to ignore the claims of the Indians who appear to have their hosts covered in all facets of the game.

Key Stats

Australia have lost their last four T20s.

India have won their last seven T20 series’.

India have won eight of their last nine T20s away from home.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – India at $1.80 or better for 1 unit.

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