India have never won a Test series in Australia. They have drawn three and lost eight of their 11 matches. @ AFP/Getty Images
India have never won a Test series in Australia. They have drawn three and lost eight of their 11 matches. @ AFP/Getty Images

Virat Kohli-led India start as sure shot favourites as they begin their tour of Australia Down Under with the first of the three-match Twenty20 International series on Wednesday at the Gabba in Brisbane.

A depleted Australia, still reeling under the effects of the ball-tampering scandal, will have to pick up the pieces in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner, who will have to serve the full length of their one-year suspensions, against an opposition that’s waiting to re-write history.

However, former Australia captain Steve Waugh believes India’s “pretty ordinary” away form will provide the hosts with some confidence.

“India, they’re talking up a good game, but they’ve come off a pretty disappointing series in England. Their away form is pretty ordinary over the past five or 10 years,” Waugh was quoted by Fox Sports.

“I think Australia might surprise actually.”

India have never won a Test series in Australia. They have drawn three and lost eight of their 11 matches. Australia, on hindsight, have been going through a terrible run of form. They were clean swept by England 0-5 in the ODI series, lost the Test series against Pakistan 0-1 and went down to South Africa 1-2 at home recently.

Waugh asserted that if the Australian batsmen can score in an excess of 350-plus in the first innings, the hosts have a potent bowling attack to take 20 wickets.

“I think if Australia can score 350 runs in our first innings we’ll win the Test match,” said Waugh.

“Our bowlers are world class and particularly in our conditions we’ll take 20 wickets. As long as we can score runs, if we get 350 in the first innings, we’ll win the series.”

Waugh backed Australia’s bowling department consisting Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to come good for the side. “They [India] have got a very good side. They will see this as their best opportunity to win in Australia for a long time,” he said.

“[Virat] Kohli is a great leader and a great batsman. If a couple of others follow him in and start scoring runs, they are a chance.”

After the T20I series, both teams will be involved the much-talked about four-match Test series that gets underway with the first in Adelaide on December 6. The one-days will begin in January.