India vs Australia: ‘But if their middle order doesn’t perform...’ - Shoaib Akhtar weighs in on why Team India could struggle down under
India’s four-match Test series against Australia will be a contest that the entire cricketing world will watch closely given the rivalry the two teams share. India and Australia along with England are the top Test playing nations in the world and a battle between these two teams in Australian conditions will be fascinating to watch.
Add to that the fact that the Aussies will be looking for revenge, having lost the Test series in home conditions two years back, and this is a battle royale in waiting. Indian captain Virat Kohli will return from the tour after the first Test to be with his wife Anushka Sharma as the couple is expecting their first child.
Kohli’s absence will make India’s job tougher but former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar believes India does have the ability to win a Test series again down under but could struggle if the middle order doesn’t fire.
“In my opinion, India have the ability to win again. But if their middle order doesn’t perform, I see them struggling. People will be watching this series with great interest including myself,” Akhtar told news agency PTI.
India are expected to play the opening Test in Adelaide, which is going to be the first day-night Test between the two teams and that according to Akhtar will be the touring party’s biggest challenge.
“The day-night Test will be their toughest test. If India play well in those conditions, then you never know. The first two innings of the first Test will tell us where the series is headed.” Akhtar said.
He further added that Indian batsmen will have to get used to the conditions quickly and adapt to the pace and bounce of the Australian pitches.
“It takes two-three innings to control that forward trigger movement in foreign conditions. You can’t drive on the up and have to play close to the body,” he said.