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Australia vs India, First Test Tips & Previews, 9th February

The first Test of the Australia & India Series kicks off on Thursday and BetDeluxe has a look at both teams to give you the inside running.

The two highest-ranked Test nations in the world head to Nagpur for the first of four Tests. BetDeluxe profiles both teams as they vie for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India vs. Australia

9th February

The Australian men’s test team will be looking to flip the script on India when the two nations meet in the first of four tests in Nagpur on Thursday.

The world’s top-ranked Test side enters the series in impressive form after going undefeated throughout the Australian summer with victories over the West Indies (3-0) and South Africa (2-0).

However, Australia has rarely enjoyed sustained success in sub-continent conditions, with their last series win in India coming in 2004. Stand-in skipper, Adam Gilchrist, led Australia to a memorable Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory and the nation’s only series win since 1969.

More recently, Australia’s record against the Indians has been bleak. They haven’t tasted long-form success against India since 2014/15, having suffered three consecutive series losses.

Australia’s current form suggests a greater show than the previous series’ with Marnus Labuschagne (1) and Steve Smith (2) the highest-ranked Test batsmen in world cricket. Travis Head (4) and Australian Test Player of the Year, Usman Khawaja (8), also feature in the top 10 after they, too, enjoyed dominant years with the bat. The Aussies will be without injured all-rounder Cameron Green in the first Test, with Matthew Renshaw set to take his place in the middle of the order.

From a bowling perspective, Australian captain, Pat Cummins (1), leads all-comers as he continues to pick up wickets in all conditions. The biggest talking point heading into this Test is the make-up of the Australian team after both Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc were ruled out through injury. Scott Boland will come in for one of the injured pacemen, while Ashton Agar looks like he’ll join Nathan Lyon as a two-pronged spin attack.

The Indians will be without Jasprit Bumrah as he continues to recover from a back injury first suffered in September. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami are the likely seam options, while Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will cause plenty of headaches for Australia’s batsmen in spin-friendly conditions. Ashwin is the second highest-ranked all-rounder in the world behind Jadeja and the fourth-ranked bowler.

The other major blow for India as they attempt to cement a spot in the ICC Test Championship against Australia is the loss of Rishabh Pant, who is slowly recovering from a car crash in late December.

They boast a formidable batting line-up consisting of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. While they don’t have the depth of talent in the XI as in previous years, the Indians are coming into this series following a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh and an incredible 2-2 draw with England.

Both sides are currently ranked first and second in the ICC Test rankings. India needs to win three of the four Tests to solidify a spot in the championship against the Aussies.

Having arrived in India less than a week ago, the Australians have had little time to acclimate to the conditions. Because of this, the value lies with the host nation in the first Test.

Suggested Bet: India to win @ $1.75

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