Who holds the upper hand in the battle between Australia and India this summer?
Who holds the upper hand in the battle between Australia and India this summer?

Stat Attack: How Aussies and India match up

ON current world rankings Australia should be massive underdogs against India in this summer's upcoming Test series.

And yet, they're not.

We take a look at the respective squads to determine why the bookies give the home team a fighting chance and which team holds the upper hand and why.

But first, how do the two teams rate currently.

Look away now Aussie fans because India are considered far superior to Australia, sitting comfortably atop the ICC World Rankings whereas Australia currently languish in fifth position.

In the past two years, India has played 26 Tests winning 16, losing seven and drawing three. Over the same time span Australia has played 21 Tests, winning 11, losing seven and drawing three.

However, the Australian team that lines up in Adelaide will be missing two very important contributors to the recent record due to the suspension of the nation's two top rated batsmen Steve Smith (ranked second in the world with a rating of 910) and David Warner (ranked fifth with a rating of 803).

HOW DO THE LINE-UPS COMPARE?

The absence of the two best batsmen in the country, and exclusion of Cameron Bancroft - who currently sits at #58 in the world with a rating of 469 as he is suspended until 29 December - leaves the Australian line-up looking rather threadbare and lacking in quality when compared to India. However, the statistics indicate home conditions could be enough to somewhat bridge the class divide. Let's take a look.

OPENERS

AUSTRALIA

There is uncertainty as to whether Australia will opt to continue with the opening pair of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja that they fielded in the recent two-Test series against Pakistan or blood Victorian Marcus Harris. Should Harris get the nod, Khawaja will slide one down the order to first drop leaving Peter Handscomb and Travis Head battling it out for the final spot in the middle order - on the assumption that Mitch Marsh earns a place as an all-rounder.

Aaron Finch has failed to find form so far this summer. Picture: Getty Images
Aaron Finch has failed to find form so far this summer. Picture: Getty Images

Aaron Finch (ICC Rank: #62, Rating 463)

Long considered one of the most destructive batsmen in the shorter forms of the game, Finch won a place in the Test team after Smith, Warner and Bancroft were suspended following #sandpapergate. Not a regular opening batsman for his state side Victoria - and boasting a mediocre first-class average of 36.58 - Finch made a reasonable fist of the job in a two-Test series in Pakistan scoring 181 runs in four innings with a top score of 62 and an average of 45.25. Finch failed to find form at either ODI or T20 level this summer and had mixed success in the final Shield game before Adelaide, scoring 50 in the first innings then just one run in the second.

STATS

Overall: Two Tests, Runs: 181, Avg: 45.25, N/A 100s, One 50

Away/Neutral: Two Tests, Runs: 181, Avg: 45.25, N/A 100s, One 50

Home: N/A

Against India: N/A

Marcus Harris (ICC Rank: #N/A, Rating N/A)

The nuggety Victorian has been the most impressive opener in the Sheffield Shield in the past two years and did his hopes of earning a Test call-up no harm when he cracked a sublime 250 not out against NSW in October this year. Failed in the first innings of this week's Shield Test audition then showed his class scoring 62 runs in a 104-run third-wicket stand with fellow Test aspirant Peter Handscomb.

STATS (First Class)

Overall: 67 Matches, 4089 runs, Avg: 35.55

Home: N/A

Against India: N/A

Usman Khawaja (ICC Rank: #11, Rating 699)

Usman Khawaja is clearly the leader of the batting line-up this summer and things are looking up for the top-order batsman. Long a top performer in home conditions who travelled like milk, Khawaja scored two centuries in the Australia A tour of India in August/September and then scored 85 and 141 in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai in October. Khawaja has never played India at Test or ODI level.

STATS

Overall record: 35 Tests, Runs: 2455, Average 43.83, Seven 100s and 13 50s.

Home: 18 Tests, Runs: 1544, Average 59.38, Five 100s and Eight 50s

Away/Neutral: 17 Tests, Runs: 911, Avg 30.36, Two 100s and Five 50s

Against India: N/A

Murali Vijay cracked a century against the Cricket Australia XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Picture: Getty Images
Murali Vijay cracked a century against the Cricket Australia XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Picture: Getty Images

INDIA

The injury to Prithvi Shaw when playing against the Cricket Australia XI has robbed Australian fans of the chance to watch one of the most exciting young talents in the game. It does however open the door for Murali Vijay to return to the team, and on past form that is no great favour for the Australian team.

Lokesh Rahul (ICC Rank #26, Rating 608)

More commonly known as KL Rahul, the opening batsman, and occasional wicketkeeper, made an inauspicious Test debut for India in the 2014 Boxing Test scoring three runs in the first innings and just the one run in the second. India stuck with Rahul for the New Year's Test in Sydney and he rewarded their patience with a fine century in the first innings at the SCG. Rahul has struggled for consistency at the Test level and has been in and out of India's starting XI. His selection for Adelaide has a touch of the 'horses for courses' about it as Rahul enjoyed the 2017 home series against Australia scoring 393 runs at an average of 65.50.

STATS

Overall: 31 Tests, Runs: 1848, Avg: 37.71, Five 100s, 11 50s

Home: 14 Tests, Runs: 885, Avg: 44.25, One 100, Eight 50s

Away: 17 Tests, Runs: 963, Avg: 33.20, Four 100s, Three 50s

Against Australia: Six Tests, Runs: 523, Avg: 52.30, One 100, Six 50s

Murali Vijay (ICC Rank #42, Rating 545)

A veteran who has been on the Test scene for India since his 2008 debut in Nagpur against Australia, Vijay boasts an excellent record against Australia overall and an even better one in Australian conditions. In the 2014 tour of Australia Vijay scored 482 runs at an average of 60.25 with one century and four half-centuries (including a 99 in Adelaide). Selected for the first two Tests in England in August, Vijay flopped with scores of 20, 6, 0 and 0 and was then dropped for Shikhar Dhawan who failed to capitalise on the opportunity and has not been selected in the Test squad. Was given a chance to find form ahead of this series when he stepped in for Prithvi Shaw and opened India's second innings against Australia XI and he delivered big time with 129 runs from 132 balls.

STATS

Overall: 59 Tests, Runs: 3933, Avg: 39.32, 12 100s, 15 50s

Home: 30 Tests, Runs: 2257, Avg: 47.02, Nine 100s, Six 50s

Away: 29 Tests, Runs: 1676, Avg: 32.23, Three 100s, Nine 50s

Against Australia: 13 Tests, Runs: 1275, Avg: 53.12, Four 100s, Six 50s

Prithvi Shaw (ICC Rank: #61, Rating 465)

Young gun who put the cricket world on notice when he smashed an astonishing 546 off 330 balls as a 14-year-old schoolboy in Mumbai. Fast forward five years and Shaw has played two Tests for his country, scored a century on debut and is averaging 167.00. While he has no form in or against Australia, Shaw gained exposure to southern hemisphere conditions on the recent India A tour of New Zealand scoring twin half-centuries and then belted 66 runs off 69 balls against Australia XI. His ankle injury in that game looks certain to see him miss selection in Adelaide but hopefully the young tyro is fit for Perth as he's a joy to watch.

STATS

Overall: Two Tests, Runs: 167, Avg: 167.00, One 100

Home: Two Tests, Runs: 167, Avg: 167.00, One 100

Away: N/A

Against Australia: N/A

VERDICT: Advantage India here. The tourists will miss the brilliance of Shaw, but with Vijay they boast one thing Australia do not have and that's a seasoned Test level opener. Finch can dominate any bowling attack when in form, but he's pretty far from his best right now.

MIDDLE ORDER

AUSTRALIA

Shaun Marsh (ICC Rank: #44, Rating 543)

One of Australian cricket's great enigmas, Shaun Marsh's best is very, very good but there seems no mediocre because when Marsh is not very, very good he's really quite bad. After digging in for a stellar innings of 141 at first drop when on debut against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, and following that up with an 81 in the next Test in Colombo, big things were expected when Marsh opened his home Test career against India in 2011. 'Big things' did not eventuate and in his six innings that series Marsh recorded scores of 0, 3, 0, 11, 3 and 0. Fast forward to 2018 and you're in Sydney, it's January, it's hot, and the Aussies have their tails up against an England squad whose skipper is in hospital with gastro and a squad who just want the series to finish. Marsh, now batting at five, strokes 156 runs from 291 balls as the Australians post a massive 7/649 declared. That's very, very good. In his 12 innings since then, Marsh has reached double figures just five times for a top score of 40 - really quite bad.

Shaun Marsh will need to lead the way.
Shaun Marsh will need to lead the way.

STATS

Overall 34 Tests, Runs: 2082, Avg 35.28, Six 100s, Nine 50s

Home: 15 Tests, Runs: 1027, Avg. 44.65, Three 100s, Five 50s

Away/Neutral: 19 Tests, Runs: 1-55, 29.30, Three 100s, Four 50s

Against India: 11 Tests, Runs: 422, Avg 21.10 (4 matches in India Avg 18.87, 7 matches in Australia Avg 22.58)

Peter Handscomb (ICC Rank: #41, Rating 548)

Peter Handscomb made this Test cricket lark look easy when he broke into the team to make his debut against South Africa in Adelaide a little over two years ago. With two centuries, two fifties and three not outs to start his career, Handscomb achieved what no other batsman in the, until then, 2245-Test match history of the game, had and avoided being dismissed for less than 50 runs in his first seven Test innings. Unfortunately in the 17 innings since then, Handscomb has bettered 50 just twice.

STATS

Overall record: 13 Tests, Runs: 829, Average: 43.63, Two 100s, Four 50s

Home: Six Tests, runs: 461, Average 65.85, Two 100s, Two 50s

Away: Seven Tests, Runs: 368, Average 30.66, Two 50s

Against India: Four Tests (all in India), Runs: 198, Avg 28.28

Travis Head (ICC Rank: #97, Rating 328)

A classy left-hand batsman who was bookmarked as a future Test player from a young age, Head finally won his Test debut in Australia's recent series against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It did not begin well when Head was out for a duck to the ninth ball he faced. Putting his disappointment aside, Head dug in during the second innings and made a major contribution to saving the Test with 72 runs off 175 balls. Named to captain South Australia when just 21, Head is mature beyond his years, and yet despite playing on the relatively batsman friendly Adelaide Oval as his home ground his first-class average is just 36.93 and a poor conversion rate of just seven centuries and 33 half-centuries.

STATS

Overall: Two Tests, Runs, 122, Average: 30.50, One 50

Home: N/A

Away: Two Tests, Runs, 122, Average: 30.50, One 50

Against India: N/A

INDIA

Cheteshwar Pujara (ICC Rank #6, Rating 765)

When the Aussie bowlers grab the first wicket of any innings this series, their work has truly only just begun, because it's Pujara that will be striding to the crease to settle things down and knock the shine off the ball. A rarity in Indian cricket, Pujara is very much a Test specialist. Not exactly dour - his career strike rate of 47.05 is not far off Australia's likely number three Usman Khawaja's 51.54 - rather he is purposeful and should he reach triple figures he tends to go on with it. Any batsman who has scored just shy of 5,000 runs at an average just shy of 50.00 is a quality player and Pujara is exactly that despite averaging 31.81 across his past 10 Tests.

STATS

Overall: 64 Tests, Runs: 4905, Avg: 49.54, 15 100s, 19 50s

Home: 36 Tests, Runs 3217, Avg: 61.86, 10 100s, Five 50s

Away: 28 Tests, Runs: 1688, Avg: 35.91, five 100s, Five 50s

Against Australia: 12 Tests, Runs: 1101, Avg: 55.05, Two 100s, Six 50s

Virat Kohli is ranked No.1 heading into the first Test.
Virat Kohli is ranked No.1 heading into the first Test.

Virat Kohli (ICC Rank #1, Rating 935)

There's bad news then there's worse news for Australian fans when it come time to breakdown Indian captain Virat Kohli's record against Australia. Bad news, Virat Kohli's career average is 54.57. Worse news, in the past 24 months Kohli has scored 2372 runs at an average of 69.76. Bad news, even away from India, Kohli averages an impressive 47.44. Worse news, in Australia, Kohli averages 62.00 and has scored five centuries from just eight matches. There is some good news, and that is the fact that the last time Australia and India met the bowling attack of Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon kept Kohli to just 46 runs at an average of 9.20. Worse news, Virat wants revenge.

STATS

Overall: 73 Tests, Runs: 6331, Avg: 54.57, 24 100s, 19 50s

Home: 34 Tests, Runs: 3105, Avg: 64.68, 11 100s, 10 50s

Away: 39 Tests, Runs: 3226 Avg: 47.44, 13 100s, Nine 50s

Against Australia: 15 Tests, Runs: 1322, Avg: 50.84, Six 100s, Three 50s

Ajinkya Rahane (ICC Rank #17, Rating 633)

One of the rarest of Test batsmen, Rahane averages significantly more runs away than he does at home. Batting at five, Rahane had a good tour of Australia in 2014 scoring 399 runs at an average of 57.00 and with a top score of 147. The stolid right-hander has been struggling for form over the past two years, averaging almost 10 runs per innings less over that span than his career and his last century was a 132 against Sri Lanka 22 innings and over 365 days ago. Unusually for an Indian batsman, Rahane struggles against spin and he is sure to be a key target of Nathan Lyon in this tour.

STATS

Overall: 52 Tests, Runs: 3271, Avg: 41.40, Nine 100s, 15 50s

Home: 22 Tests, Runs: 1140, Avg: 34.54, Three 10ss, Four 50s

Away: 30 Tests, Runs: 2131, Avg: 46.32, Six 100s 11 50s

Against Australia: Nine Tests, Runs: 605, Avg: 40.33, One 100, Three 50s

VERDICT: India and it's not even close. Kohli is imperious at the crease right now, Pujara is too good to not score big runs at some point soon and the same could be said of Rahane. Australia's middle-order sorely misses the grit and glamour that Steve Smith brings to it and I'm not sure Shaun Marsh is capable of leading the batting and Head and Handscomb are still very much finding themselves at this level. there's a real fear that when Australia are two-for they could become five-for in a hurry.

ALL-ROUNDERS

AUSTRALIA

Mitchell Marsh (Batting: ICC Rank #70, Rating 446, Bowling: ICC Rank #64, Rating 264 All-rounder: ICC Rank #32, Rating 117)

Another put on the Test radar from a young age, Mitch Marsh's Test debut (October 2014) against Pakistan in Dubai was forgettable with 30 runs scored across the two innings and zero wickets taken from 24 overs. His maiden Test century, when it finally came, was a big one, 181 against England in Perth in December 2017. That score was followed by a 101 in the same series in Sydney and then a 96 against South Africa in Durban in March 2018. Marsh's backers may have hoped the runs signalled a change in fortunes for the likeable lad but it seems not, as he has a high score of 47 in the 12 innings since - and failed to reach double figures in seven of those knocks. Marsh's value as an all-rounder is further diminished by the seeming lack of trust placed in his bowling by his captain with 'Bison' sending down double digits of overs just five times in his last 20 innings bowled. It's a somewhat damning indication of Marsh's 'all-rounder' credentials that all four of Australia's front line bowlers sit above him on the ICC All-rounder Rankings. It's not all doom and gloom however, Marsh did smash an unbeaten 113 against India A in India in September 2018 and he scored a fine 151 for Western Australia against Queensland at the Gabba in November.

STATS

Batting

Overall: 30 Tests, 1200 runs, Avg: 26.08, Two 100s and three 50s

Home: 12 Tests, 553 runs, Avg: 39.50, two 100s

Away/Neutral: 18 Tests, 647 runs, Avg: 20.21, Three 50s

Against India: Four Tests, 146 runs, Avg: 20.85

Bowling

Overall: 30 Tests, 34 wickets, Avg: 42.55, 0 5/w

Home: 12 Tests, 15 wickets, Avg: 42.46, 0 5/w

Away/Neutral: 18 Tests, 19 wickets, Avg: 42.63, 0 5/w

Against India: Four Tests, One wicket, Avg: 60

Hardik Pandya (Batting: ICC Rank #69, Rating 446; Bowling: ICC Rank #59, Rating 288; All-rounder: ICC Rank #25, Rating 128)

Like his Australian counterpart Marsh, Pandya is not rated as the best all-rounder on his team - that honour goes to the world's second-highest rated all-rounder Ravi Jadeja. However, it is likely he will get the nod for Adelaide with the team preferring his medium fast bowling to the spin of Jadeja. Scores his runs at a good clip and while his bowling has been criticised due to a lack of penetration he took 10 wickets in the recent four-Test series in England including his career best of 5 for 28 at Trent Bridge.

STATS

Batting

Overall: 11 Tests, Runs 532, Avg: 31.29, One 100, four 50s

Home: One Test, Runs: 71, Avg: 71, One 50

Away: 10 Tests, Runs: 461, Avg: 28.81, One 100, three 50s

Against Australia: N/A

Bowling

Overall: 11 Tests, Wickets: 17, Avg: 31.05, One 5/w

Home: One Test, Wickets: 0

Away: 10 Tests, Wickets 17, Avg: 29.64, One 5/w

Against Australia: N/A

VERDICT: Advantage India once again. Home conditions see a significant improvement to Mitch Marsh's batting average but his bowling remains pretty innocuous while Pandya has shown he can handle overseas conditions and provide that match-winning flourish that is the hallmark of a Test level all-rounder.

Australian Test cricket captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer. Picture: Getty Images
Australian Test cricket captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer. Picture: Getty Images

WICKET KEEPERS

AUSTRALIA

Tim Paine (Batting: ICC Rank #56, Rating 482)

With no slight on Tim Paine intended, it's not great to see a wicketkeeper batsman not named Adam Gilchrist as the fourth best rated batsman in an Australia line-up. Paine, filling in for an injured Brad Haddin, made his debut for Australia in July 2010 against Pakistan at Lord's and performed well enough to retain his spot for the October two-Test tour of India in which he scored two half-centuries including a career high 92. Injuries, and the selectors' preference for the combative presence of Matt Wade behind the stumps, left Paine on the Test outer for seven years after India and it was not until the 2017 Ashes series in Australia that he would again don the baggy green. Elevated to the Australian captaincy following #sandpapergate, Paine has averaged 37.27 since his recall with a best of 62.

STATS

Overall 14 Tests, Runs: 697, Avg: 36.68, N/A 100s, four 50s

Home: Six Tests, Runs: 192, Avg: 44.22, N/A 100s, one 50

Away/Neutral: Nine Tests, Runs: 505, Avg: 33.66, N/A 100s, three 50s

Against India: Two Tests, Runs: 183, Avg: 45.75, N/A 100s, two 50s

Rishabh Pant (ICC Rank #64, Rating 459)

The young wicketkeeper is coming in to this series full of confidence having notched his maiden Test century against England at The Oval in September and then consecutive scores of 92 against the West Indies in the recent home series. Combines a nose for a single with some big hitting and holds the honour of being the first Indian batsman to get off the mark in Test cricket by hitting a six.

STATS

Overall: Five Tests, Runs: 346, Avg: 43.25, One 100 Two 50s

Home: Two Tests, Runs: 184, Avg: 92.00, Two 50s

Away: Three Tests, Runs: 162, Avg: 27.00, One 100

Against Australia: N/A

VERDICT: I'm leaning towards Australia here. Paine has responded well to the captaincy, he's a clean 'keeper and reliable lower-order batsman. Pant has a touch more brilliance and should he come in with India already having a big score he could score big runs fast but I'll favour the safe and steady Paine just ahead of him.

BOWLERS

AUSTRALIA

Australia is the only team in world cricket with all four of their first-choice bowling attack ranked within the top 20 in the world. Should one of the 'Big Three' fast bowlers succumb to injury there are a number of pacemen with good first-class records waiting in the ranks - though it must be said in recent years Australia's 'backup' quicks have not shone when given a chance at Test level. Should Nathan Lyon go down Australia are in big trouble.

Pat Cummins will spearhead the Aussie attack. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Pat Cummins will spearhead the Aussie attack. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) LUKAS COCH

Pat Cummins (ICC Rank #6, Rating 784)

Burst on to the scene making his Test debut at just 18-years-old in 2011 and then spent the next six years dealing with a host of injuries. Returned to the Test scene in 2017 capturing eight wickets in two Tests in India and then showed no signs of breaking down in a tough five Test Ashes series followed by the four Test series in South Africa. Boasts an excellent strike rate of one wicket per 48.4 balls bowled and is a more than handy batsman with an average of 20.27 and a Test fifty to his name.

STATS

Overall record: 14 Tests, Wickets: 66, Avg: 23.81, Two 5/w

Home: Five Tests, Wickets: 23, Avg: 24.65

Away: Nine Tests, Wickets: 43, Avg: 23.37, Two 5/w

Against India: Two Tests, Wickets: Eight, Avg: 30.25

Josh Hazlewood (ICC Rank #12, Rating 744)

It's a heavy burden to compare any bowler to a legend like Glenn McGrath, but the similarities between Hazlewood and 'Pidgeon' are too numerous to ignore. Both McGrath and Hazlewood are country NSW born and bred, both 196 centimetres, both naggingly accurate in line and length and both made their Test debuts aged 23. What he lacks in penetration compares to the men above and below him in this article he makes up in containment and forms a perfect foil to the more aggressive Starc and Cummins.

STATS

Overall record: 40 Tests, Wickets: 151, Avg: 26.84, Six 5/w

Home: 20 Tests, Wickets: 86, Avg: 25.48, Four 5/w

Away: 20 Tests, Wickets: 65, Avg: 28.64, Two 5/w

Against India: Seven Tests, Wickets: 21, Avg: 30.80, Two 5/w

Nathan Lyon (ICC Rank #16, Rating 706)

Nathan 'Gary' Lyon couldn't have hoped for a better start to his career dismissing Kumar Sangakkara with his very first ball and capturing five wickets in that innings. The off-spinner has a good record against India both home and away with some highlights being his career best 8/50 in Bengaluru in 2017 and the 2014/15 home Test series against India where he took 23 wickets including 12/286 in the Adelaide Test.

STATS

Overall record: 80 Tests, Wickets: 318, Avg: 32.21, 12 5/w

Home: 37 Tests, Wickets: 139, Avg: 33.74, Three 5/w

Away/Neutral: 43 Tests, Wickets: 179, Avg: 31.02, Nine 5/w

Against India: 14 Tests, Wickets: 64, Avg: 33.31, Five 5/w

Mitchell Starc (ICC Rank #17, Rating 693)

The tall left arm quick may be the lowest rated of Australia's strike quartet but he will undoubtedly be the man handed the ball to open the attack in Adelaide. Starc has had an uncharectaristically lean run of late capturing just eight wickets in his past four Tests and posted figures of 2/98 in his most recent Sheffield Shield game against Queensland in November. A destructive, if at times impatient, batsman, Starc's top score is the 99 he scored against India in Mohali in 2013.

STATS

Overall record: 45 Tests, Wickets: 186, Avg: 28.52, Nine 5/w

Home: 21 Tests, Wickets: 96, Avg: 28.51, Three 5/w

Away/Neutral: 24 Tests, Wickets: 87, Avg: 28.05, Six 5/w

Against India: Seven Tests, Wickets: 18, Avg: 37.38

Peter Siddle (ICC Rank #37, Rating 476)

It seems unfair to describe any man with over 200 Test wickets as an honest trundler but I'm going there. Siddle still has an angry quick's demeanour but just a medium pacer's velocity as he reaches the latter period of his career. Still able to bottle up an end when asked he lacks penetration and should one of the frontline quicks go down injured then I would expect the selectors to look to Chris Tremain - though the resurgent Trent Copeland has been pushing his claim with aplomb.

STATS

Overall record: 64 Tests, Wickets: 214, Avg: 30.28, Eight 5/w

Home: 34 Tests, Wickets: 122, Avg: 27.66, Five 5/w

Away/Neutral: 30 Tests, Wickets: 92, Avg: 33.77, Three 5/w

Against India: 10 Tests, Wickets 38, Avg: 26.81, Two 5/w

INDIA

The quality of the Indian bowling attack is deceptive vis-a-vis the rankings. India is blessed with depth and in some ways implements a 'home and away' style selection policy.

No player better illustrates this than the top ranked Indian bowler Ravindra Jadeja - lethal at home but very much below average away. Trying to predict the attack that India will field in Adelaide is a mug's game so we'll take a brief look at the full field of contenders.

Ravindra Jadeja (ICC Rank #5, Rating 812)

A left-arm orthodox bowler, and more than handy batsman, Jadeja has captured 144 wickets in 27 matches at home with a superb average of 19.22. Outside of India Jadeja has taken just 41 wickets in 11 matches at a rather more pedestrian average of 36.82. That said, Jadeja did play in the fifth Test of India's 2018 tour of England picking up seven wickets for the match and he has a superb record against Australia so he may yet play in Adelaide.

STATS

Overall record: 39 Tests, Wickets: 185, Avg: 23.50, 9 5/w

Home: 27 Tests, Wickets: 144, Avg: 19.22, 7 5/w

Away: 11 Tests, Wickets: 41, Avg: 36.82, two 5/5

Against Australia: Eight Tests, Wickets: 49, Avg: 18.02, Three 5/w

Ravichanndran Ashwin (ICC Rank #7, Rating 777)

Should the tourists opt for a spinner with a better record outside of India, conventional offbreak bowler Ravi Ashwin more than adequately fills that role. A wily spinner, and very accomplished lower order batsman, with 336 wickets at 25.44 Ashwin played the first four Tests in India's recent tour of England before being dropped for Jadeja for the fifth. Despite being more accomplished away from home than Jadeja, Ashwin has struggled to make an impact from his six Tests in Australia with only 21 wickets at 54.71 and with a strike rate of 97.04.

STATS

Overall record: 64 Tests, Wickets: 336, Avg: 25.44, 26 5/w

Home: 38 Tests, Wickets: 234, Avg: 22.68, 20 5/w

Away: 26 Tests, Wickets: 102, Avg: 31.78, Six 5/w

Against Australia: 14 Tests, 71 wickets, Avg: 32.49, Five 5/w

Mohammed Shami (ICC Rank #22, Rating 637)

A fast medium bowler with good control and the ability to swing both the new and old ball, Shami began 2018 in fine form capturing 15 wickets in the three-Test series against South Africa including a career best 5-28 in Johannesburg. Since then off-field issues have dogged the 28-year-old and despite his decent record against Australia he may miss out on selection in Adelaide.

STATS

Overall record: 36 Tests, Wickets: 128, Avg: 29.96, Three 5/w

Home: 10 Tests, Wickets: 40, Avg: 24.20, One 5/w

Away: 25 Tests, Wickets: 88, Avg: 32.45, Two 5/w

Against Australia: Three Tests, Wickets: 15, Avg: 35.79, One 5/w

Umesh Yadav (ICC Rank #25, Rating 613)

A fast bowler who regularly exceeds 140 kph, Yadav comes into this series off the back of his first ever 10 wicket haul in a match having taken 10/133 from 36.5 overs against the West Indies in Hyderabad in October. Yadav's record in Australia - 25 wickets at 43.96 - does not inspire confidence though he dis achieve his second best career figures here when he took 5/93 in Perth in 2012.

STATS

Overall record: 40 Tests, Wickets: 117, Avg: 32.85, Two 5/w

Home: 24 Tests, Wickets: 73, Avg: 27.75, One 5/w

Away: 16 Tests, 44 Wickets, Avg: 40.95, One 5/w

Against Australia: 11 Tests, 42 Wickets, Avg: 35.64, One 5/w

Ishant Sharma always brings plenty of aggression to the Indian bowling lineup. Picture: Colleen Petch.
Ishant Sharma always brings plenty of aggression to the Indian bowling lineup. Picture: Colleen Petch.

Ishant Sharma (ICC Rank #26, Rating 603)

The veteran quick's spell against Ricky Ponting in Perth during India's 2008 tour is still revered in his homeland but Sharma has not enjoyed much success in his two subsequent tours down under. Just 20 wickets from 10 Tests in Australia at an average of just 62.15 (with a strike rate of 105.44) saw Sharma labelled the worst international fast bowler to ever tour Australia. The numbers don't lie, but Sharma showed some good form in England taking 18 wickets in India's recent tour of England including 5/51 in the second innings in Birmingham.

STATS

Overall record: 87 Tests, Wickets: 256, Avg: 34.73, Eight 5/w

Home: 33 Tests, Wickets: 84, Avg: 33.59, One 5/w

Away: 54 Tests, Wickets: 94, Avg: 35.29, Seven 5/w

Against Australia: 22 Tests, Wickets: 48, Avg: 46.41

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (ICC Rank #29, Rating 578)

A right-arm medium pacer capable of hooping the ball when at his best, Kumar made his Test debut against Australia in Chennai in 2013. Has played just the one Test in Australia failing to make much impression with figures of 1/168 in Sydney 2015. Kumar has not played a Test for India since January 2018.

STATS

Overall record: 21 Tests, Wickets: 63, Avg: 26.09, Four 5/w

Home: 11 Tests, Wickets: 27, Avg: 26.22, One 5/w

Away: 10 Tests, Wickets: 36, Avg: 26.00, Three 5/w

Against Australia: Six Tests, Wickets: 9, Avg: 52.77

Jasprit Bumrah (ICC Rank #38, Rating 472)

With a slingy action creating pace and bounce it is surprising that two years went by between Bumrah making his ODI debut in 2016 and his Test debut in January 2018. With a good yorker and the ability to swing the ball away from a right hander, Bumrah has been labelled as an 'X-factor' in the Indian pace battery.

STATS

Overall record: Six Tests, Wickets: 28, Avg: 25.57, Two 5/w

Home: N/A

Away: Six Tests, Wickets: 28, Avg: 25.57, Two 5/w

Against Australia: N/A

Kuldeep Yadav (ICC Rank #52, Rating 331)

A left-arm unorthodox bowler, Yadav made his Test debut against Australia at Dharamsala in March 2017 and immediately impressed taking 4/68. With spinners of the stature of Jadeja and Ashwin ahead of him in the pecking order, opportunities have been few and far between for Yadav and he may be on tour more for experience than as a genuine Test option.

STATS

Overall record: Five Tests, Wickets: 19, Avg: 25.26, One 5/w

Home: Three Tests, Wickets: 14, Avg: 24.28, One 5/w

Away: Two Tests, Wickets: Five, Avg: 28.00

Against Australia: One Test, Wickets: Four, Avg: 22.75

VERDICT: Advantage Australia with one important proviso - the top four must remain fit throughout the series. India's strength is their depth but the class of the Australian attack - especially in home conditions - could dig the batsman out of a few holes.

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