Australia vs India 2018-19: 3 factors that could decide the Test series

Smith & Warner are serving a 12-month ban
Smith & Warner are serving a 12-month ban

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.

#2. The Virat Kohli effect

Virat Kohli will be the key factor for India once again
Virat Kohli will be the key factor for India once again

Nobody can deny that Virat Kohli in the past few years has been the key factor for Team India. And now he is returning to the country where he started his Test captaincy career in 2014, after the retirement of MS Dhoni.

Kohli has been in terrific form this season and would be hoping to continue his dream run against the Aussies as well. But the thing everyone would be looking at is 'Virat Kohli - The Captain'.

Kohli as a batsman is going from strength to strength with each passing game, but Kohli as a captain is still being questioned over his tactics and team combinations.

He is eager to conquer overseas territory, and this could possibly be the series where he silences the critics who questioned his captaincy both in South Africa and England.

The Aussies on their part would be fully aware of the 'Kohli threat', and would be trying to neutralize its effect in the best possible way.

Team India will be hugely dependent on Kohli - both with the bat and with the captaincy. And they would be hoping for some better results this time, unlike in South Africa and England.

#3. The pace attack of both the teams

A lot would depend on the pacers from both the teams
A lot would depend on the pacers from both the teams

The speedy and bouncy Australian pitches would offer a lot to the pacers from both the sides. There is no doubt that the team with the better pace bowling performance will come out on top in this series.

Both the teams are packing some good genuine fast bowling options. The Aussies have their attack ready with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins at the forefront, and Peter Siddle and Chris Tremain also in the squad. Even Mitchell Marsh could come in handy with his medium-fast bowling.

India on the other hand have seen their fast bowlers grow from good to better in recent times, and they have already proved their worth in the series against South Africa and England this year. The experienced Ishant Sharma would be leading the pace attack with Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah for company.

All these bowlers will play a vital role in deciding the result of each game and even the series.

Edited by Musab Abid


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