Australia favourites to beat India in Test series: Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane believes Australia will not be pushovers in the four Tests. @Getty

India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has termed Australia as the favourites for the upcoming four-match Test series starting Thursday at Adelaide Oval, two days ahead of the opening match. It has widely been surmised that this is the best shot for a touring Indian team to win a Test series in India, chiefly because of the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner and the success of India’s fast bowlers as a pack this year in South Africa and England.

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Rahane, however, has not given into notions of India being able to dominate Australia.

“I feel that any team that plays at home, they feel really good, and I feel that Australia are still the favourites to win the series,” he told told reporters at Adelaide Oval Tuesday. “We are not going to take them lightly at all. Yes, they (will) miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don’t think they are vulnerable.

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“You see their bowling attack, they’ve got a really good bowling attack, and I think to win test matches, you need to have a really good bowling attack. So I feel that Australia are really still the favourites.”

While India’s pace bowling is arguably the best it has been for decades, the batting has let the team down on tours to South Africa and England this year. Rahane’s form has been part of the problem, as indicated by a Test batting average of 29.66 from 15 innings in 2018.

His emphasis was on batting in pairs during the Australia series.

“When you do well as a team, you feel really good,” he said. “This is a team sport … and it is the job of each and every bat to contribute for the team. And I think it’s important that we get those long partnerships together, in Australia that will really help us a lot.”

This is Rahane’s second Test tour of Australia, after the 2014-15 trip when he scored 399 runs at 47 with a stunning 147 at the MCG.

“Last time here, we really enjoyed batting together a lot, especially at the MCG,” Rahane recalled. ”Mitchell Johnson was really going after Virat Kohli and I was at the other end playing my game. Virat at the other end was really aggressive and going after bowlers. I was able to focus on my game, I still attacked but I was completely the opposite to Virat.”