Virat Kohli credits captaincy for his sparkling success in Tests

Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh

Australia are no longer the force they used to be in world cricket.

The MCA stadium in Pune is making its debut as a Test venue, becoming the 25th stadium to hots a Test match in India. However, his century in the tour game might give him the much-needed confidence and if he starts to deliver he will be quite a force to reckon with.

He's not considered in the same class as Ashley Mallett, Stuart MacGill or Hugh Trumble - despite taking more Test wickets than each of them. For the remaining four spots, Australia are likely to use two pacers and two spinners.

He is prepared to throw the ball up and I call him an Eveready battery - he never lets you down.

Peak Starc is a frightening prospect; standing close to 200cm, the lissom tearaway has reached speeds of 160kph, can conventionally swing the new ball and reverse swing the old ball, possesses a devastating yorker and surprise bouncer, the latter proving a match-winning delivery in Australia's epic Test against Pakistan at the Gabba last December.

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Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were anticipated to both play in Pune, but it remains to be seen whether that will prove the case. Starting with the whitewash over New Zealand, followed by a 4-0 win over the England and then beating neighbours Bangladesh in the one-off Test, there is nothing wrong that the Virat Kohli-led side has done so far.

But if I'm Lyon, I'm waking up on Thursday thinking it's my birthday.

"We get along really well and on the field we're professional enough to understand it's going to be a competition". "But we've got the squad here that can compete in these conditions". So we're under no illusions there, it's going to be tough. A few weeks earlier, however, Smith conceded that even a draw in India would be a good result (better than a loss, he argued).

That's how you get scores of 500. For both spinners and players of spin alike, the incentive to continually break and re-build ones technique in pursuit of rare Test victories may not be worth the risk, particularly if you can simply succeed at home and make Twenty20 money otherwise.

Pitch: Traditionally, the Pune wicket has helped the spinners as it keeps slow and low.

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"There was a time when greatness used to be evaluated by how you perform in the West Indies, and then doing well in Australia became the benchmark", says Kartik.

Usman Khawaja reaches 50 in Australia's last Test in Australia.

Ashwin and Jadeja would be hoping to continue their form over the last nine Tests this season. "I haven't really seen a wicket like that before a Test match, so I think it is going to take a lot of spin and potentially some up and down movement for the fast bowlers as well".

Starc and Hazlewood are stars but the hot, dry Indian conditions will wear them out pretty quickly. Australia finally win under Ricky Ponting, in 2004-05 by a similar margin.

"He is learning as he goes, which is unbelievable for the world record holder". "Things didn't go to plan there, but as a captain I've learnt a bit about how to go about things in the subcontinent".

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Nathan Lyon, the most experienced player in this Australian side, is also the most successful off-spinner in Australian Test history, and trails only Shane Warne and Richie Benaud in career wickets. "It has been ensured that there is no big construction behind the square-leg or point boundary line, so that the cross wind flows throughout the day", Bhave informed.

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