Border-Gavaskar Trophy: Five Player battles to watch out for
R Ashwin will be crucial for India [Source: Twitter]
After decimating Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the white-ball series, hosts India are set to cross swords against Australia in a four-match Test series starting February 9.
Whenever these two teams meet, fierce on-field battles take place between players from both sides. While performing under high pressure certainly elevates the players' stature, failing against their rivals earns them massive backlash.
So, before the high-voltage affair begins in Nagpur, let's analyse and list five key player battles to watch out for in this series.
1. Virat Kohli vs Pat Cummins
There can't be a more mouth-watering battle in this series than between India's best batter and Australia's best bowler. Despite scoring truckloads of runs against Australia, Kohli has not really been able to crack the cheat code to success versus Cummins.
Statistically, Kohli has managed 82 runs, being dismissed five times by the Aussie stalwart in Test cricket.
Virat Kohli vs Pat Cummins: 82 Runs, Five Dismissals, Average: 16.4
So, the legendary batter will undoubtedly like to improve his numbers against Cummins when they meet in this series.
2. David Warner vs Ravichandran Ashwin
We all know how Ravichandran Ashwin enjoys bowling to left-handed batters. Just like any other southpaw, veteran Australian batter David Warner has also had a tough time with the bat against the wily off-spinner.
Overall, Warner has scored 182 runs, with Ashwin dismissing him a whopping ten times in Tests.
David Warner vs R Ashwin: 182 Runs, Ten Dismissals, Average: 18.2
Thus, considering these stats, we expect Warner to have another string of underwhelming outings on Indian soil.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara vs Nathan Lyon
The grit of Cheteshwar Pujara has stood between Australia and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the last three editions. But the visitors would back Nathan Lyon to get rid of Pujara, as the experienced tweaker has done it ten times prior to this series.
Cheteshwar Pujara vs Nathan Lyon: 521 Runs, Ten Dismissals, Average: 52.10
However, the Indian maestro averages an impressive 52.10 against Lyon, which is why we expect a cracking contest between these two players.
4. Steve Smith vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Steve Smith was a clear winner in his battle with R Ashwin until India's tour of Australia in 2020-21, which saw the veteran spinner bamboozle the Australian three times for only 64 runs.
Steve Smith vs R Ashwin: 412 Runs, Six Dismissals, Average: 68.7
However, the overall record vividly represents Smith's dominance over Ashwin. So, will Ashwin better his numbers versus Smith? Only time will tell.
5. Rohit Sharma vs Nathan Lyon
This is one of the most exciting matchups we will witness in this series. Notably, Rohit has managed only 135 runs, being dismissed six times by Lyon in Tests.
Rohit Sharma vs Nathan Lyon: 135 Runs, Six Dismissals, Average: 22.5
Interestingly, all his dismissals have come in Australia. So, it will be exciting to see how he deals with Lyon's guile on spin-friendly Indian tracks.
Also Read: "Gill to open, KL Rahul to bat at five in Nagpur Test"- Aakash Chopra