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India vs Australia 2017: All you need to know about the first Test in Pune

Mystery behind the Pune pitch, probable lineups, key stats and much more.

India Australia 2017
The top two Test sides will battle it out for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

The amount of hard work and value that Australia have placed on this 4-Test series in India can be identified by the number of press conferences given by almost every single player in their squad in the days leading up to the opening match.

Following intense preparation camps at the Center of Excellence in Brisbane and at the ICC Academy in Dubai, the visitors are quietly confident of providing a closely competitive affair.

Squaring off against them will be a ruthless Indian team on a remarkable run of 19 consecutive Tests without defeat and six successive series victories. The highly promising 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy is all set to begin at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday.

Let us take a close look at all aspects pertaining to the eagerly anticipated first Test in Pune.

#5 Onus on skippers to set the tone

Steven Smith Virat Kohli
Steven Smith and Virat Kohli are the top two Test batsmen at the moment

According to the ICC Player Rankings, Steven Smith and Virat Kohli are the top two Test batsmen at the moment. Both have been in imperious form during the last couple of seasons. It is quite evident that their respective teams look up to them to show the way.

Extra Cover: Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith – A promising rivalry

Strangely, the pressure could be on Kohli and his troops as pre-series predictions from various quarters bill India as extreme favorites with a score line of anything less than 4-0 set to evoke discontentment.

Coming towards the end of a packed home season, the series poses a test of both mental and physical resolve. On the other hand, Smith as well as Australia need to have a good start to the series. If not, things could start to unravel pretty quickly.

Team Form (Last 5 matches in reverse chronological order)

India – WWWWW

Australia – WWWWL

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