This Thursday the first ball will be bowled in the much awaited Test Series between Australia and India. For a weakened Australian team it will be an opportunity to test their mettle against the number one Test team and for the visitors it is a chance to become the first Indian team to taste Test Series success on these shores. It looms as an enthralling contest.
While we count down the minutes to the opening of hostilities here are our five fearless predictions for the series
Usman Khawaja will fire.
A player who has a enjoyed home conditions in recent seasons, Khawaja comes into this series after a breakout away series in the UAE. It was on the back of his performances that the Aussies were able to draw the First Test against Pakistan and, whether he opens or bats three, he looks primed for a big series against India.
Virat Kohli will never get a better chance.
The Indian skipper looks like a man preparing himself to create history on this tour of Australia. With a quality pace attack at his disposal, a talented batting line-up, and a weakened opponent, he will never get a better chance to lead India to a drought breaking Test Series win in Australia. If he can’t get his team across the line this time out, he will never do so.
Josh Hazelwood will lead the quicks.
With other members of the bowling attack stealing all the attention, it is easy at times to forget just how good Josh Hazelwood really is. The ever consistent quick will be an ever reliable presence for Tim Paine with his ability to perform in all conditions. It is for this reason we predict that he will be the leading wicket taker for the series.
There will be a result in Melbourne.
The MCG was put on notice by the ICC last year after the lifeless pitch that was prepared for the Boxing Day Test last year. While we believe some of the criticism was over the top, rest assured that the pitch played upon this year will provide a lot more assistance for the bowlers this time around. Barring Melbourne’s much maligned weather intervening, there will be a result at the MCG this year.
Australia will win 2-1.
The Justin Langer reign has not been covered in glory to date, with the Australian team struggling on foreign shores and in shorter forms of the game, but in home conditions they will be a different proposition all together. The unsettled batting line-up will be much more formidable in familiar settings and, with one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket, Australia will edge out their visitors in a thrilling series.