The man who can make the difference for Australia in India
That is some statement of intent, and you know from the way Kohli said it that it wasn't meant as a message for the Australians or a warning bell, it was just his belief in his team, their plans and abilities. These targets themselves may well define the approach of the two teams on the turf.
Pitch: Traditionally, the Pune wicket has helped the spinners as it keeps slow and low. You can also watch the match on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 (Hindi) and live stream it on Hotstar.
However, Kohli insisted that all the teams they have played before are of good quality and that the Australian side are no different.
India boast the two leading Test bowlers in the world at the moment in spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and the conditions should suit them. Moderately successful will not work here, they will have to be immensely successful if Australia are to remain with a chance once the first game gets over.
Apart from that one change, India are likely to stick to the same team that beat Bangladesh in Hyderabad.
India, on the other hand, is in no such quandary.
Michael Clarke's side went through a horror series the last time the Australians were on Indian shores in 2013. If not anything they have grown bigger (in deeds) and better.
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Intriguingly, Australia's selectors deliberately ignored another "defensive" spin option for the tour by choosing Mitchell Swepson ahead of Adam Zampa, who was compelled to content himself with a couple of Twenty20 appearances back home instead. How times fly? Now it's just the other way round... "Where's our Ashwin and Jadeja?" we will inevitably ask. Certainly sleepless nights in store for the visitors unless the Wizard of Oz comes to their rescue.
There are several factors in India's stupendous run, chief among those being captain Virat Kohli's phenomenal run with the bat. For me performance-based discipline is batting for me.
Smith, just like his teammates have done over the last week since arriving in India for the challenging tour, put up as courageous a front as a visiting captain can. Captain Steven Smith has enjoyed decent success at No. 4 and has a better record batting at that position. "'What I noticed in my sessions with these young spinners is that batsmen were encouraged to hang in the crease and play off the pitch, like Younis and Misbah do in the UAE", O'Keeffe says. The batsmen made a comeback into the team after a lay-off performed exceedingly well. "Frankly speaking if the side do not play to their potential, there is nothing that the captain can do".
"Every series for us is challenging". Now, if Starc is given a fresh wicket to bowl on in Pune he could literally swing the tie in favour of the Aussie within the first one hour.
Smith has already stated that he would not prevent his boys to verbally attack the opposition and Virat Kohli's India must be ready not to be provoked, counter the provocations or tame the provokers. "Listen you have to be good enough to capitalise on those weaknesses... so the best is to be very good in what we do, then automatically everything will fall into place". They have lost the last three Test series in India (2-0, 2-0 and 4-0 were the results). Since defeat at Galle on that tour, they are also unbeaten in 19 tests, winning 15 of them.
The radical ploy of playing a third specialist spinner, possibly at the expense of gun seamer Josh Hazlewood, is not out of the question.
"Everyone is entitled to one's opinion".
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