Australia pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. @ Getty Images
Australia pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. @ Getty Images

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell understands the hosts are a depleted side without experienced campaigners, Steve Smith and David Warner. However, that does not mean India will be able to trample over the hosts come the four-match Test series which begins with the first Test on December 6 at Adelaide.

Chappell, who played 75 Tests and scored 5345 runs at an average of 42.42, reckons the Aussies should not be underestimated as they still have a potent bowling attack in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins that can upset the applecart of the opponents.

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“Australia should not be underestimated: they have a top-class attack, headed by three excellent fast bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins. As a result of three suspensions, Australia will field a depleted batting line-up, which means their bowlers will be even more determined to limit the opposition’s scoring,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

“No matter how depleted the Australian squad might be or how much chaos surrounds the national team, the players will give their all on the field. With Australia looking to temper their on-field behaviour after the ball-tampering debacle, the Indians had better believe that while this may result in a reduction in verbals, there will be no let-up on the short-pitched deliveries.”

After a series-levelling six-wicket win in the final T20 International at Sydney on Sunday, India will gear up for the Test series with a warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI beginning on November 28.

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Chappell said that the visitors will have to acclimatise quickly to the bouncy pitches. “In their lone tour game India will have to acclimate quickly to the extra bounce from Australian pitches. The hardest adjustment for any batsman is going from low-bouncing pitches to ones where the ball rises at a steeper trajectory,” he wrote.

“This leads to one of the biggest challenges when batting in Australia: how to score runs off the back foot. Consequently, players who are adept at playing the horizontal bat shots often have success in Australian conditions.”

Chappell also highlighted a selection conundrum India might face ahead of the Tests. “Do India bat the dogged Cheteshwar Pujara at three and hope he’ll wear the quick bowlers down, or do they gamble on Rohit Sharma, who is technically well equipped to tackle the short-pitched stuff aggressively? Virat Kohli showed on the last tour of Australia that he’s extremely adept at dealing with short-pitched deliveries, but it would be of great benefit to provide him with an ally in this confrontation,” he wrote.

As far as the spinners is concerned, he feels that the visitors might be tempted to go with Kuldeep Yadav, but the task becomes harder without Hardik Pandya.

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“Considering Australia’s frailty against spin bowling, there’s no doubt that in Adelaide and Sydney especially, India would love to play a pair of tweakers. They would probably also like one of them to be the wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, but his choice is made more difficult by the absence of seam-bowling allrounder Hardik Pandya,” he wrote.

“The solutions to these head scratchers may become clearer after the warm-up match, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of trying to win the contest.”