Cricket: Aus­tralia and In­dia re­new old ri­val­ries Down Un­der

Ra­hane in­sists hosts are favourites

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Sud­hir Gupta @Sport360 ✉ [email protected]

Aus­tralia will be with­out the banned duo of Steve Smith and David Warner but In­dia deputy skip­per Ajinkya Ra­hane be­lieves the hosts re­main the favourites for the four-match Test se­ries which gets un­der­way on Thurs­day.

Vi­rat Kohli and his men have been touted as favourites to win the Test bat­tle by many pun­dits and for­mer play­ers in the ab­sence of Aus­tralia’s two best bats­men.

Both Smith and Warner con­tinue to serve their one-year bans for the in­volve­ment in the in­fa­mous ball­tam­per­ing scan­dal but Ra­hane feels Aus­tralia will still start as favourites in front of their home fans.

“Not re­ally,” Ra­hane told re­porters in Ade­laide when asked if Aus­tralia will strug­gle to cope with the ab­sence of the two bat­ting stal­warts.

“I feel that any team that plays at home, they feel re­ally good, and I feel that Aus­tralia are still the favourites to win the se­ries,” he con­tin­ued.

“We are not go­ing to take them lightly at all. Yes, they will miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don’t think they are vul­ner­a­ble.

“You see their bowl­ing at­tack, they’ve got a re­ally good bowl­ing at­tack, and I think to win Test matches, you need to have a re­ally good bowl­ing at­tack. So I feel that Aus­tralia are still the favourites.”

In­dia’s bats­men will be un­der the scan­ner Down Un­der fol­low­ing their poor dis­plays in the tours of South Africa and Eng­land.

Ac­cord­ing to Ra­hane, build­ing long part­ner­ships will be the key for the tourists if they are to win a maiden Test se­ries on Aus­tralian soil.

“When you do well as a team, you feel re­ally good,” said Ra­hane.

“This is a team sport … and it is the job of each and ev­ery bat to con­trib­ute for the team. And I think it’s im­por­tant that we get those long part­ner­ships to­gether, in Aus­tralia that will re­ally help us a lot.”

The two teams will be­gin their Test bat­tle at the Ade­laide Oval from Thurs­day.

Beyond Kohli

Vi­rat Kohli is at the top of his game but he must get his other bat­ters to per­form if he is to grab the crown­ing glory of In­dia’s first Test se­ries vic­tory in Aus­tralia, ac­cord­ing to vet­eran jour­nal­ist Ayaz Me­mon.

“Apart from Kohli him­self no other bats­man is mak­ing runs. So one man’s show is not likely to win you a se­ries overseas,” Me­mon told AFP.

“Kohli’s chal­lenge is to get the best out of his bats­men and seize the win­ning mo­ments which In­dia has failed to latch on to.”

In­dia’s dis­mal record Down Un­der, which started with a crushing se­ries loss to Don Brad­man’s side in 1948, is just five wins in 44 Tests.

Kohli is con­fi­dent that now is the time to buck the that trend.

“Look­ing at how much ex­pe­ri­ence we have gained in the four years since we have last been here, and how the team has played, we def­i­nitely feel we have what it takes to win Test matches away from home,” he said in an in­ter­view with Mac­quarie Ra­dio.

“And, hope­fully, this time around, a full se­ries,” he added.

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