India vs Australia: It is going to be incredibly hard for Virat Kohli and company to win - Shane Watson

Watson backed India’s batsmen, under pressure for their poor show in England and South Africa, to come good in the Test series.

cricket Updated: Dec 06, 2018 02:09 IST
India vs Australia,Virat Kohli,Shane Watson
India's captain Virat Kohli (L) throws the ball to Lokesh Rahul (C) whilst fielding on the fourth day of the tour match against Cricket Australia XI at the SCG in Sydney on December 1, 2018(AFP)

Former Australia vice-captain Shane Watson said he was surprised at Adelaide being preferred over Brisbane as the venue for the first Test against India beginning on Thursday. Watson said the ‘placid’ Adelaide wicket will make it an even contest.

“From my perspective, it is hard to get your head around (the fact that) the first Test match of the summer not being at the Gabba,” said Watson, on the sidelines of the recent T10 League in Sharjah.

“It is actually going to be strange for the first day of a Test series in Australia not being at Brisbane which helps pace, bounce and swing. The Gabba is a big advantage against an away team, whereas the wicket at Adelaide is more placid. The ball doesn’t swing as much, so it is going to be an even contest compared to the Gabba,” he said.

Australia are unbeaten in Tests at the Brisbane’s Gabba since losing to the West Indies in 1988.

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‘Incredibly hard for India’

The former all-rounder said India, the world’s top-ranked Test team, will find it tough to beat Australia in their backyard even though the home team has been struggling and will miss top batsmen.

“It is India’s best chance of winning in Australia especially because Steve Smith and David Warner are missing, but it is still going to be incredibly hard for India to win,” said Watson.

“Even though they have an incredible batting line-up and their bowlers are probably as good as (any) fast bowling attack coming to Australia. But with the wickets (being) the way they are — pace and bounce — and, obviously, Australia are accustomed to playing at home.”

Watson backed India’s batsmen, under pressure for their poor show in England and South Africa, to come good in the Test series.

“I have seen their batsmen a lot, especially in the IPL. They have got some world class and exciting young batsmen. KL Rahul has got some good memories of his last tour in Australia; he got a hundred in Sydney. Rishabh Pant is incredibly talented, it will be interesting to see how he goes in Australia. Their batting is strong even if you take Virat (Kohli) away from the equation,” said Watson.

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‘Bumrah biggest threat’

Watson singled out Jasprit Bumrah as the biggest threat. “Having someone like (Jasprit) Bumrah who bowls good speed, is different with his angle and is a typical sort of an outswing bowler; he is going to be a handful in Australia because the ball sort of speeds up off the wicket.”

The 59-Test veteran said the new stadium at Perth, which will host the second Test starting December 14, will have a wicket similar to the one at WACA, the earlier venue.

“I have not played at the new stadium at all but what I hear is that there is fair bit of pace and bounce in it, which is along the lines of the WACA. As long as there is pace and bounce, that provides an advantage to the Australians,” said Watson.

Watson, who was on the culture review panel following the ball-tampering episode involving Australia, backed the team to put the difficult period behind it.

“It is going to take a bit of time to put those foundations in place and regroup and build on that. Hopefully, that does not take too long, but for now it is going to be the Australian team finding its feet and then performing at their best. Some people perform at their best when they have their backs against the wall,” he said.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 18:31 IST