Kohli & Co. all set to take on mighty Aussies in first Test

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Pune [India], Feb. 23 (ANI): The much anticipated four-match Test series between India and Australia will begin today, here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium. The MCA stadium, which is making its debut as a Test venue, becomes the 25th stadium to host a Test match in India. The dry conditions make it a typical sub-continent pitch, which will test the visitors. On a fairytale 19-match unbeaten streak, India, currently the top-ranked Test team, would obviously seek extension of their incredible dominance on home turf. The series against the Steve Smith-led side is the fourth and last home series of the 2016-17 season for India. They conjured up emphatic victories over New Zealand (3-0), England (4-0) and Bangladesh (one-off Test). There are several factors in India's stupendous run, chief among those being captain Virat Kohli's phenomenal run with the bat. Kohli is averaging over 80, after accumulating 1457 runs in the last 13 Tests. The other major factor has been the excellent bowling by spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, incidentally the top two bowlers in the ICC rankings. Meanwhile, Australia are touring India for a full Test series, for the first time, since they were whitewashed 0-4 by the hosts in the 2012-13 season. The Aussies later defeated India 2-0 in a four-Test rubber, played Down Under in the 2014-15 season. Australia have not won a Test match in India since 2004 and their last series win in Asia came against Sri Lanka in 2011. Since then, they have suffered nine straight Test losses in the subcontinent. The first Test in Pune would be followed by games in Bengaluru (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29). Squads: India: Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith(c), Peter Handscomb, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Agar, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc. It would be interesting to see if India continue with its impeccable form at home or will the Steve Smith-led side be able to stop the winning run of Kohli and his men. (ANI)