IND vs AUS Match Preview, 1st Test, 2023

India vs Australia, 1st Test Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins
Rohit Sharma of India and Pat Cummins of Australia during the pre series press conference and trophy reveal ahead of the first test match between India and Australia held at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur on the 8th February 2023. Photo by: Faheem Hussain / SPORTZPICS for BCCI

The IND vs AUS Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 kicks off with the first test in Nagpur on February 9. The Aussies are topping the WTC points table followed by India in the second position. India needs to win the series to play the final against Australia.

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 series will be played across four different venues in India. The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur will host the first IND vs AUS Test from February 9 to 13, and the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi will host the second Test from February 17 to 21.

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The third IND vs AUS  Test will be played at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala from March 1 to 5 and the fourth Test will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from March 9 to 13 which is likely to be a D/N Test.

India have won the last three editions of the BGT. They won the home series in 2017 by a 2-1 margin. The Men in Blue then won back-to-back Test series in Australia in 2018 and 2020-21 by 2-1 margins. The previous Test series between the two teams was the most memorable one played between the two teams in the last two decades. 

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Both teams are missing several key players ahead of the first Test. India are missing Shreyas Iyer who is ruled out with a back injury. Rishabh Pant is also unavailable for the series due to his unfortunate as well as Jasprit Bumrah who is still recovering from his back injury as well. 

Australia meanwhile, are missing out on Mitchell Starc who has injured the middle finger of his bowling arm. They will also be without Josh Hazlewood who is ruled out due to an Achilles injury on his left leg. There are also concerns over Cameron Green’s availability with Steve Smith almost confirming in the pre-match pressure that he is ruled out of the first Test. 

Both teams had a close look at the pitch. India playing at home means that the pitch is expected to assist the spinners more than the pacers. Both teams are expected to play with three spin options. The focus will also be on the curator, especially after the pitches in Ranchi and Lucknow were below-par T20I pitches in the series against New Zealand. 

IND vs AUS Match Preview 1st Test, 2023

India 

The injury to Shreyas Iyer has opened up many possibilities for changes in the Indian playing XI. The management is pondering over the likes of Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, and Suryakumar Yadav. There is a temptation to play Gill as an opener but KL Rahul is the vice-captain and also a regular opener in Test matches for India. However, Rahul’s recent form might make the management think otherwise. While form is not KL Rahul’s friend at the moment, it is certainly Shubman Gill”s friend.

He recently scored his maiden Test ton in the series against Bangladesh. He has already scored over 500 runs in just 6 ODIs this year and notched up his maiden T20I ton in the series against New Zealand. The Punjab batter on the form should open the batting with his skipper Rohit Sharma. All eyes will also be on Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara both of whom found form in recent times. 

Speaking about India’s bowling attack, Ravindra Jadeja is fit and is likely to play the first Test. He will be Ravichandran Ashwin’s spinning partner. Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will be India’s two pacers. The toss-up will be between Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav for the third spinning option. 

India Squad 

Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Virat Kohli, Mohd. Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk) R. Ashwin.

Australia

The absence of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood has already weakened Australia’s bowling attack. This also means that Pat Cummins the skipper has to do a lot of bowling in the Test match. The Aussies are also willing to play with two spinners hence Lance Morris and Scott Boland might be the two other pacers. While Morris is yet to make his Test debut, Boland has not played a Test match in Indian conditions. 

The batting will rest on the top three of David Warner, Usman Khawaja, and Steve Smith. Marnus Labuschagne also has handy experience playing in sub-continental conditions and will be a dependable batter. As said earlier, there are doubts over the participation of Cameron Green who broke his right index finger during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa last December and had surgery thereafter. 

Thus the first Test has all the makings of a rivetting contest and set the tone for the series. This series is all set to add a new chapter to India vs Australia rivalry. 

Australia Squad 

Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (wk), Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Mitchell Swepson, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy.

Betting site Betway predicts India winning against Australia in the first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy priced at 1.72 and 3.80 respectively and draw at 5.80.

Also Read: IND VS AUS HEAD-TO-HEAD IN TEST, TEST RECORDS, PLAYER STATS, 1ST TEST, 2023

Virat Kohli | Rohit Sharma | Rishabh Pant | KL Rahul | Suryakumar Yadav | Sanju Samson | Shreyas Iyer | Yuzvendra Chahal | Jasprit Bumrah

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