Australia vs India 2018-19: 3 factors that could decide the Test series
After a cracking T20I series, Team India is all set to challenge the Aussies in their own backyard in the longest format of the game - Test matches. And looking at both the teams on and off the field, the visitors seem to look a bit more confident and settled.
India vs Australia has always been a great rivalry, and has seen some truly great battles on the field - and particularly so on Australian soil.
India, however, have never managed to win a Test series in Australia. And while this seems to be their best chance, there are three very crucial factors that could play a part in deciding the result of the Test series.
Here is a look at those:
#1. The absence of Smith and Warner
Arguably the biggest factor that will affect the series is the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner from the Aussie team. The two stalwarts have been the superstar performers for Australia in recent years, but are currently serving a 12-month ban from international cricket due to their involvement in the sandpaper scandal against South Africa early this year.
The Australian team have missed the services of both Smith and Warner, which can be seen in their results this year. Smith and Warner regularly piled up runs and were always a threat to the opposition, and without them the team has been sorely lacking in batting solidity. Moreover, they also don't have a good leader who can guide them through the innings and make the important decisions at the critical times.
With Tim Paine leading the Aussies, the team as a whole looks much more brittle as compared to the team of the 2014-15 series. However, India would not be taking them lightly, and would be ready for a good challenge from the hosts.