Border Gavaskar Trophy 2020-2021: The Key Battles

The Border Gavaskar Trophy is going to start from the 17th of December, and the Indian team will be playing a Test series after a long gap. Given the incredible history of Test cricket between India and Australia, this will be am interesting clash.

Let’s have a look at some of the key battles which could decide the fate of the series largely:

1. Cheteshwar Pujara vs Josh Hazlewood

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Pujara was the Man of the Series when India toured Australia last time in 2018-19. Pujara had scored 521 runs in 7 innings at an average of 74. And in Virat’s absence in this series, much would depend on how Pujara faces the Kangaroo bowlers.

Hazlewood has performed well in the recent past for Australia. He has picked 33 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 23 and a strike-rate of 50 in Tests since 2019.

Pujara has only been decent against Josh Hazlewood though. Hazlewood has dismissed Pujara 4 times in 18 innings. Against Josh, Pujara averages 51 at a strike-rate of 36.48.

2. David Warner vs R. Ashwin

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Ashwin has always been lethal against left-handed batsman, and his battle against David Warner would be a treat to watch. A stat to notice is that more than 50% of Ashwin’s wickets have come against left-handed batsmen.

Both have contrasting records in Australia though, Warner is altogether a different beast in Australia, whereas Ashwin hasn’t performed well in Australia. Despite this, the offie enjoys a good record against Warner.

  • Warner averages 66 at a strike-rate of 76 in 75 innings in Australia.
  • Ashwin averages 48 with a strike-rate of 95 with the ball in Australia.
  • Ashwin has improved a lot outside the subcontinent, since he toured Australia in 2014-15.

Warner has been dismissed by Ashwin 9 times in 26 innings, and has not dismissed any other batsman more times. Against Ashwin, Warner averages 20 at a Strike Rate of 48.

3. Ajinkya Rahane vs Nathan Lyon

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As Pujara, Rahane too will have a huge responsibility on his shoulders in the absence of Kohli, not just in batting but as a skipper as well. And his battle against the Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon will be a one to watch out for.

Lyon has dismissed Rahane 9 times in 24 innings, and it is the most times that Lyon has dismissed any batsman. Rahane averages 29 against Lyon with a strike-rate of 47.

4. Steve Smith vs Umesh Yadav/Jadeja

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Steve Smith is certainly the best Test batsman currently, and India needs to figure out ways to dismiss him. And most probably, Umesh Yadav can be the bowler who can trouble Smudge with his pace and bounce. In the 14 innings that Smith has faced Umesh, he has been dismissed 4 times.

Umesh has been excellent for India in the recent past. He has picked 45 wickets in 20 innings at an average of 19 and a strike-rate of 33 (since 2018). Against Umesh, Smith averages 66 with a strike-rate of 67.

Jadeja has improved his records outside Asia by leaps and bounds. Since 2015, he has picked 25 wickets in 13 innings averaging 29 at a strike-rate of 64.

Jadeja has also troubled Smith and even Smith himself said that Jadeja is a ‘tough bowler to face’. Against Jadeja, Smith has been dismissed 4 times out of 12 innings averaging 38 with a strike-rate of 32.

5. Australian Tailenders vs Indian Bowlers

It’s a well-known fact that India in the recent past has struggled to dismiss the tailenders despite dominating most of the top-order batsmen. Be it Sam Curran for England, Keshav Maharaj for South Africa, or the most recent being Kyle Jamieson from New Zealand.

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Though when India plays in the subcontinent, this job is done by Jadeja-Ashwin, playing 2 spinners outside the subcontinent isn’t favourable as the pitches aren’t suitable for the spinners.

It would be a quite interesting battle to see how the Indian bowlers will tackle the Aussie tailenders this time down under.

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