Former Australian wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist is of the belief that the current outfit is the nation's best chance to register a Test series win in India after 19 years. The Pat Cummins-led side are on the back of some impeccable form, having only lost one Test since the upset at The Gabba against the Men in Blue in January 2021.
Gilchrist was the last captain to have led Australia to multiple wins on Indian soil. He took up leadership responsibilities in the first three Tests in Ricky Ponting's absence during the 2004 tour and led the Men in Yellow to an unassailable 2-0 lead.
The visitors amassed huge wins in Bangalore and Nagpur before facing an unprecedented defeat in Mumbai to end the series with a 2-1 margin.
Noting that subcontinent tours prior to playing in India benefitted Australia in their 2004 triumph, Gilchrist told AAP:
"There's not going to be anything easy and it's not going to be a walk in the park, but it is their best chance and I expect them to do really, really well. The balance of their squad and how experienced the team is now is important."
"They've had a number of tours to subcontinental countries to gain and learn from and that was what held us up in 2004. "We were very well planned and prepared due to the experiences we had, both positive and negative, previously in the subcontinent.This group of players has built up that bank of knowledge and the skills that they have, so they have a very good chance of winning."
Australia toured Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022 as part of their World Test Championship (WTC) away schedule. The Aussies won the three-match series against Pakistan by a 1-0 margin and were held to a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.
"We completely changed our tactics; Shane became pretty much a holding bowler" - Adam Gilchrist
Since the iconic 2004 series, Australia have only won one Test in India. They lost 2-0 in 2008, suffered a 4-0 whitewash in 2013, and lost 2-1 in 2017.
To make matters worse, they have also lost to the Men in Blue on Australian shores on back-to-back occasions.
Revealing that Australia had to steer away from traditional tactics to yield a positive result in India, Gilchrist said:
"We completely changed our tactics, particularly at the start of our bowling innings, going away from the typically aggressive fields. We decided to start with one slip, maybe a catching midwicket, but with a deep backward square field and just attack the stumps, attack the pads and wait for the ball to start to go reverse."
"Shane became pretty much a holding bowler, where he just had to hold an end for us and not let the pressure ease and he did that brilliantly.It was a real step away from what traditionally Australian cricket teams did, to the point where we went on the defence to create an offence."
Australia will take on India in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Nagpur from February 9 onwards.
Who will win the four-match Test series? Let us know what you think.
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