Australian pacer hold key to success against India: Michael Clarke

Posted Февраля 17, 2017

Fresh from a 208-run hammering of Bangladesh in their one-off Test in Hyderabad, captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday headlined the same squad from that clash that will be aiming to inflict more pain for Australia in the subcontinent.

India are eyeing a unique record against Australia in the forthcoming four-match Test series starting February 23 in Pune.

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who missed the last two Tests of the recent five-match series against England with a leg injury, was not considered fit enough for selection. Under Ricky Ponting's captaincy, Australia went unbeaten for 22 Tests after their Ashes loss in 2005.

This time, staring at a 0-2 deficit in the four-match Test series against India in India, Australia were desperately seeking some back-up players after axing four of their main ones after the second Test.

Under Kohli's aggressive captaincy, India are now on a sequence of 19 unbeaten Tests (a national record) and six successive series victories. Most of the batsmen, including left-handed David Warner, skipper Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Usman Khawja, practised in nets. "We are not treating it as a practice game; it's an opportunity for all of us to do fantastic things and get noticed by the selectors", said the 23-year-old all-rounder. It will be a golden opportunity for some of India's fringe players to make a mark against a strong global side.

The Cricket Association of Bengal president once again reiterated that India have the ability to win the series 4-0. "I know that Smith and Warner will play in their free-spirited fashion and if we can curb their natural instinct, play to our strengths and make them play to the pace that we want them to play, we will do a fine job". "It is going to be a tough series for them".

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The likes of David Warner and Steve Smith will want to get a good knock in the middle, while the youngsters in the side - Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw and the rest - will want to show they can score runs in all conditions.

"I think I have learnt a little bit of that in Sri Lanka".

Speaking to The New Daily, Harbhajan, who has taken 129 wickets across all formats in global cricket against Australia, doesn't foresee the visitors faring too well. "I am expecting this to be a very competitive game".

"I had predicted before the England Test series that it will be 5-0 in India's favour, but it ended 4-0, and against Australia it could go 4-0 as well".

"There could not have been a much stronger side than the one that toured India in 2001 and yet they could not win".

While Australia will be looking to get some clarity about their playing XI, India A, led by Hardik Pandya, would be looking to create confusions.

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