India vs Australia, Test series 2023: Decoding key player battles
India and Australia are gearing up to cross swords in an all-important four-match Test series, starting February 9. Stakes are high in the series with important ICC World Test Championship points on offer. Hosts India will also have a chance to displace Australia as the top-ranked Test team. Here we look at the key player battles which can be on display during the series.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs David Warner
Veteran Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has dismissed David Warner 10 times in 18 Test innings. No other spinner has dismissed the Aussie opener more often in whites. Warner will certainly have a point to prove in the series as he averages just 24.25 in eight Tests in India. Moreover, Ashwin owns 312 scalps in just 51 Tests on home soil.
Ravindra Jadeja vs Steve Smith
Steve Smith is among the few visiting batters to have done well in Tests in India in recent years. The former Aussie skipper owns 660 runs in six Tests in India with the help of three tons and a fifty. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja will have the onus to dominate Smith as he has dismissed the Aussie batter four times in 12 Test innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara vs Nathan Lyon
Though Cheteshwar Pujara has done well against the Aussies, Nathan Lyon has troubled him. The off-spinner has dismissed the veteran batter 10 times in 28 Test innings. Only England's James Anderson has dismissed Pujara more often (12) in Tests. Notably, Lyon has done well on spin-friendly Indian tracks as he owns 34 wickets in seven Tests in the nation (3 fifers).
Pat Cummins vs Virat Kohli
Though Indian tracks aren't traditionally conducive for pace bowling, Aussie skipper Pat Cummins can pose a significant threat to Indian batters. The top-ranked Test bowlers boasts 28 wickets in nine Tests in India. Moreover, he has dismissed Virat Kohli five times in 10 outings in Tests. Notably, the former Indian skipper has had a hard time in Tests in the last couple of years.
Rohit Sharma vs Mitchell Starc
Rohit Sharma has been sensational in home Tests and could give Australia a hard time. The Indian skipper boasts 1,760 runs in 20 home Tests at 73.33 ( 7 tons). Mitchell Starc, who operates with the new ball, will look to dismiss Rohit cheaply. The left-arm pacer has fared well in Tests in Asia, having scalped 50 wickets in 15 games at 29 (5W:3).