As India and Australia gear up to take on each other in the much-anticipated four-match Test series, former captains Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid have revealed their predictions for the series. Both the former cricketers are confident that India can repeat what they achieved on the 2018-19 tour: becoming the first Asian country to win a Test series in Australia, if they do certain things right.
Anil Kumble said that India need to do well in the first Test which will be day-night affair in Adelaide. He said that if India can stay ahead in the series-opener, they can win the series again.
Anil Kumble acknowledged that the presence of Steve Smith and David Warner, coupled with Virat Kohli returning home on paternity leave after the first Test, would make the series more challenging for India. He, however, believes that India have enough ability to get the better of the hosts.
“Since India is starting the Test series with a pink ball, that’ll be the biggest challenge. If we can stay ahead in the first Test match then India has a great chance to repeat what they did in the last Australia tour,” Anil Kumble was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Although with [Steven] Smith and [David] Warner coming back [after their ball-tampering bans the last time] and then Virat [Kohli] missing the three Test matches will obviously be a big factor for India. But having said that, there’s enough ability within the team, be it batting or bowling.”
“The bowling – we probably match our fast bowling to their fast bowling. The batting again matches, [but] I think we are ahead [of Australia]. So if we can get ahead in the pink-ball Test match – which obviously is Australia’s strength: they’ve done really well in Adelaide whenever they have played a pink-ball Test; so if India can sort of get ahead against Australia in the first Test, then I will back India. But if that doesn’t [happen], then it is going to be a tough ask without Virat as well in the next three [Tests],” he added.
Rahul Dravid’s prediction:
Rahul Dravid believes that India need to find a batsman who can do a ” Pujara” and score at least 500 runs in the series. Pujara made the difference with the bat when India won the series in 2018/19 season. While no other batsmen in the series could score more than 350 runs, Pujara scored 521 runs with the help of three centuries.
“Who is going to be our Pujara from last time?,” Dravid asked. “I’m saying [that because] Pujara scored 500-plus runs last time, [so] you [are] going to need one of your batsmen [to repeat that]. Either it is going to be Pujara himself – obviously it can’t be Kohli because he is not going to be there for the whole [tour] – but you are going to need one of your batsmen at least in my opinion over the four Test matches to get you something like 500 runs.
“I do believe we have got a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets in those conditions. They will be challenging conditions: Australia will try and put out conditions which will support the quality of fast bowlers. So will we be able to match that?
“I think we will be able to get 20 wickets over five days. [But] will we get a batsman who will get 500-plus runs for us in the series [or not] might define it; if we can get that, then we give ourselves a great chance. If one of Smith and Warner, who missed the last series, get that then they [Australia] probably will have the edge,” he added.
Meanwhile, Adelaide has been a happy hunting ground for the hosts when it comes to day-night Tests. Australia have played seven day-night Tests at home, winning all of them, including four in Adelaide. Overall, they have played 20 Tests at the venue and have won 14 while losing three. Incidentally, Australia’s last defeat in Adelaide had come against India during the last series between the two teams Down Under.