After having been set a target with a required run-rate of 9 at the Malahide Cricket Club ground in Dublin, with strong performances in the bowling department by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal, Indian fans were slightly surprised to see Deepak Hooda walk out alongside Ishan Kishan to open the batting.
As the India and Australia start another chapter in their glorious history with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 starting in Nagpur on Thursday, former India captain Sourav Ganguly recalled fond memories of the historic series that has become a part of Indian cricket's folklore.
World No.1 T20I batter Suryakumar and Indian wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharat made their respective Test debuts in the series opener of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Thursday. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri handed the debut caps to SKY and Bharat ahead of the 1st Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.
The series will also see a healthy competition between two modern era greats - Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, who would look to stamp their authority on the field right from the word go.
Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin had a no-nonsense verdict on the debate over Shubman Gill and KL Rahul ahead of the opening Test of the series against Australia.
Ahead of the clash there has been plenty of discussion on India's playing XI, with many arguing Shubman Gill should be considered over KL Rahul, who is returning after a break due to personal reasons.
On the eve of the series opener, Rohit did nothing to help ease the media and fans' suspense, adding further to the mystery of India's Playing XI. But while the team combinations present several puzzled, the one toss-up which everyone is extremely invested emotionally is between Gill and KL Rahul.
MS Dhoni surprised his fans in a never seen ‘desi’ avatar as the former India captain was seen driving a tractor to plough his farm, which is located at the outskirts of his hometown Ranchi.
Ahead of the series opener, which will be played in Nagpur on Thursday, Australia have made some serious allegations regarding the pitch, accusing the hosts of 'doctoring' it to produce rank turners.
Former captain Ian Chappell though feels such claims are 'silly' and that the players and media cannot be further from reality given how bullish India have been playing at home, ransacking touring teams over the year. Since losing to England in 2012, India have been undefeated at home and Chappell reckons the streak is only going to extend.
Ravi Shastri, who masterminded India's twin Test series triumphs over Australia, has come up with a jaw-dropping scoreline prediction for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
India captain Rohit Sharma has also had his say on the doctored pitches accusation from the Australian media. In the pre-match press conference, the India captain and opener urged the fans and media to focus on cricket rather than worrying too much about the nature of the pitch.
Australia currently top the standings, with India in hot pursuit in second place, and both teams go head-to-head across a four-Test series from 9 February with a place at The Oval, and the coveted ICC World Test Championship Mace, firmly in their sights. India need to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy comprising four Tests to stand a chance of qualify for the WTC final.
Indian run-machine Virat Kohli can shatter multiple records in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia. India's Cheteshwar Pujara and former Australian skipper Steve Smith are also on verge of shattering batting records in the four-match Test series.
Pant is ruled out of the entire series while Iyer is likely to join the squad for the second Test match in New Delhi starting February 17. But who will take gloves in Nagpur? Will it be Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat? Will India ask Shubman Gill to bat in the middle order or take the gamble of handing a debut to Suryakumar Yadav?
Former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar has explained how the hosts can have a reliable top-order batter in the form of Rohit Sharma, who will have a point to prove after missing crucial games in the ongoing edition of the ICC World Test Championship. Rohit-led India will lock horns with Australia in the Test series opener at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday.