Pune: On a fairytale 19-match unbeaten streak, India would seek an extension of their incredible dominance on home turf when they clash with Australia in the four-Test series, beginning in Pune from Thursday.
The series against the Steve Smith-led side is the fourth and last home series of the 2016-17 season for India, who have conjured up emphatic victories over New Zealand (3-0), England (4-0) and Bangladesh (one-off Test).
India are going into the rubber, seeking their seventh successive series win going back to the three-Test away series against Sri Lanka in 2015.
There are several factors in India's stupendous run, chief among those being captain Virat Kohli's phenomenal run with the bat. The young captain has truly led from the front by notching up four double hundreds.
Kohli is averaging over 80, having accumulated 1,457 runs in the last 13 Tests and Australia will need to find ways to curtail his brilliance to stop the Indian juggernaut.
The other major factor for India's dominance has been the excellent bowling by spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the top two bowlers in the ICC Test rankings. Off-spinner Ashwin has grabbed 78 wickets in the last 13 Tests with eight five-fors at an average of just over 24 while left-armer Jadeja has scalped 49 wickets in 10 Tests at just under 25.
The spin twins, who combined forces to rout New Zealand and England, pose a major threat to the Australians as well.
In addition to these three players' consistent performances, the support from batsmen such as opener Murali Vijay, and Cheteshwar Pujara, and from the other bowlers has been invaluable. The stubborn lower-order batting has often helped the team come out of tricky situations and score big.
As coach Anil Kumble pointed out on Tuesday, India have not fielded the same eleven during this successful phase due to a variety of reasons, including injuries. But each replacement has been bang on and delivered the goods.
India's unbeaten 19-Test run commenced with a victory in the second Test of the series in Sri Lanka in 2015.
Following are some of the details of the four-match Test series against Australia.
1st Test: 23-27 February at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune.
2nd Test: 4-8 March at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
3rd Test: 16-20 March at JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi.
4th Test: 25-29 March at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala.
Time: 9:30 am IST.
Live telecast: The match will be covered exclusively on Star Sports. For those who prefer English commentary, tune into Star Sports 1 and HD1, and for Hindi commentary make sure you are able to access Star Sports 3 and HD 3.
Live streaming: One simply has to login to Hotstar.com to watch live streaming of the match. A smartphone allows a user accessibility to the service on the go, with the website having its applications both on iOS and Android platforms.
With inputs from PTI.
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Updated Date: Mar 05, 2017 12:25:08 IST