The Border-Gavaskar Trophy series is considered one the fiercest rivalries in Test cricket. Whenever India and Australia have locked horns with each other, there have been some memorable moments and stellar performances on the field.
Australia and India, currently ranked number one and two respectively in ICC Men’s Test team rankings will face-off in a four-match series, starting on February 9, to relive the fierce rivalry between the two teams.
India is the current holder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the last three series against Australia in 2017, 2018-19 and 2020-21. A 4-0 series win for India would help them attain a points percentage of 68.06, which is likely to be enough for a crucial top-two finish in the WTC standings.
When the two legendary teams will clash, it will be interesting to see who will have the upper hand. Let’s a have look at the players to watch out for when the highly anticipated rivalry takes off in Nagpur.
Virat Kohli, one of the best batters produced by Indian cricket, has been in red-hot form after a slump in recent years. He has restored his signature aggressive style against his opponents in white ball cricket recently.
It should be great to see how the run-machine, known for his extraordinary focus and well-timed shots, will showcase his finest skills when he takes the field against Australia.
Kohli has amazing records against Australia. He has scored 1682 runs at an average of 48.05 in 20 matches including seven centuries and five half-centuries.
Ravindra Jadeja will be keen to make a strong comeback in the upcoming series against Australia after being out of action since August 2022 due to his knee injury.
Along with his bowling, his batting will also be vital for providing stability in the middle order. Known for his enigmatic fielding, he will be a complete package available in the Indian set-up.
The fiery all-rounder was drafted into the Saurashtra team to test his match fitness ahead of Australia’s tour of India, where he scalped seven wickets for 53 runs against Tamil Nadu.
Jadeja boasts an impressive Test record against Australia, taking 63 wickets at 18.85 across 12 matches, including three five-wicket hauls.
He was the leading wicket-taker of the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy and was named Player of the Series after claiming 25 wickets and scoring two fifties in four matches. The all-rounder could trouble Australia’s batters during the Tests in Nagpur and Ahmedabad, where conditions are expected to favour spin bowlers.
Shubhman Gill could prove to be one of the biggest positives for India in this year’s Border Gavaskar, considering his scintillating form in the limited overs series. He hit a match-winning Test ton in Bangladesh in December and scored his maiden ODI double-hundred in January.
Last year in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the youngster scored 259 runs in three matches at an average of 51.80 with the highest score of 91 at the Gabba. Gill’s current form showcased that the 23-year-old is confident enough to score big against mighty Australia and add more feathers to his cap.
Steve Smith is one of the most dependable batters in Australia. He is in impressive form and a lot of expectations are riding on him.
In the recent series against South Africa, he amassed 231 runs in four innings. It will not be easy for Indian bowlers to get past Smith in the upcoming series.In the 92 matches he has played so far, the 33-year-old batter has amassed 8647 runs and has a stupendous average of 60.9.
Not to forget, the Australian is the only batter from either side to have scored over 750 runs in a Border-Gavaskar series. In 2014-15, Steve Smith smashed India’s bowling and scored 769 runs at an average of 128.16 in 8 innings with the help of four tons.
Seasoned off-spinner Nathan Lyon is the third bowler and the only Australian to make the top five list of leading wicket-takers in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with 94 wickets in 41 innings at an average of 34.75. His best bowling figures of eight for 50 in an innings came in Bengaluru in 2017 on a turning track.
The 35-year-old could be a major threat to the Indian team throughout the Test series. He has an edge over most of India’s top-order batsmen, which is evident from the number of times he has knocked them over in Tests.
Lyon, who has 460 Test wickets in 115 matches, has dismissed Kohli seven times in Test cricket.