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This Thursday one of the most highly anticipated events in cricket will begin: Australia’s tour of India. Over the past 70 years, it’s a match up that has produced some of the best cricket games in history, and this tour looking like it will be no different. Australia and India are ranked No.1 and No.2 in Test cricket, and will be playing four Test matches to determine who wins the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, before getting stuck into three ODIs as well.
We look at the betting odds for the first Test match, and break down all the best bets to place ahead of the first ball being bowled on Thursday.
These odds from Ladbrokes were correct at the time of writing.
- India vs Australia first Test
- 9th of February, 4:00 AM GMT
- Vidarba CA Stadium, Nagpur, India
Pitch Report and Weather Conditions
Reports coming out of Nagpur are that this will be a batting-friendly pitch, which will favour spinners towards the end of the Test. For Australia’s sake, we hope this is true, given that India recently produced a shocker of a pitch for the second T20 against New Zealand.
Weather-wise, it will be calm and sunny, with a high of 32 degrees forecast for Nagpur on Thursday. The weather should remain that way across the five days of the Test.
India vs Australia – Match Predictions
Traditionally, India vs Australia Test matches favour the home side. In fact, in the 70+ years that these two teams have been playing Test cricket against each other, Australia has only won four series in India—and three of these were more than 50 years ago.
That means this Test is India’s to lose. In saying that, we say there’s a good chance of this first Test being a draw. In each of the past four India vs Australia series, there has been at least one drawn Test. India are traditionally excellent at bowling teams out on their home pitches with spinners on days four and five, but this Nagpur pitch is expected to be batter-friendly. Add to this the fact that both teams have been scoring big runs recently, and there’s a strong chance this first Test will see these sides feeling each other out and collecting information on player match ups, ending in a draw.
Pujara to Be India’s Top Run Scorer
Lyon to Be Australia's Top Bowler
India Top Run Scorer First Innings
Speaking of big runs, we say Cheteshwar Pujara will be India’s top run scorer in the first innings.
There’s no denying the fact that Pujara is a world-class Test batsman, with 19 centuries and 34 half centuries. But he top order batsman also likes to score big, making 19 centuries, seven of which have been above 150, with three double tons. It’s high time that Pujara makes another of these mammoth scores, betting that he’ll do it in the first innings to set the tone for the series is a great wager.
The top order batsman in good form currently, having scored a century and two half centuries in his past five Tests. Expect Pujara to bat long, and have the other batsmen play around him.
Prediction: Cheteshwar Pujara to be India’s top run scorer in the first innings.
Australia Top Bowler First Innings
Nathan Lyon loves to tour India. When he first visited in 2012-13, he picked up 15 wickets in three Tests at an economy of 4.40. Last time the spinner toured, in 2016-17, Lyon collected 19 wickets at the excellent rate of 2.88.
Now, Lyon is a seasoned veteran, and the second-highest non-Asian wicket taker in Asia. With India’s pitches getting more and more spin-friendly as time goes on, Lyon could well take plenty of wickets if Australia are bowling on the third or fourth day at India. Plus, he’s been great form this summer, taking 22 wickets across his last five Tests in Australia.
Prediction: Nathan Lyon to be Australia’s top bowler in the first innings.
India vs Australia Preview
With these bets in mind, here’s a closer look at how each team is shaping up ahead of Thursday’s match:
India have a few challenges in selection, with Rishabh Pant out for the season, and KL Rahul in poor Test form. Add in injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer, and the selectors will be scratching their heads. Will we see a Test debut for white ball star Suryakumar Yadav, and speaking of short form performers, will Shubman Gill get a spot in the line up?
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.
Australia also have some challenges when it comes to injuries, with Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood out of the first Test. Scott Boland is likely to make an appearance, while a specialist number six will potentially be targeted. Who will partner with Nathan Lyon in the spinning department?
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitch Swepson, David Warner.
How to Watch India vs Australia First Test in the UK: Live Streaming & Channel List
Those looking to live stream or watch the India vs Australia first Test on TV have several options:
- BT Sports 1
- Sky Sports Cricket