Former England legendary batsman Michael Atherton has said that India’s strong top order and brilliant pace attack gives them solid chance of beating Australia in Australia later this year.
India are to tour Australia later this year and while the return of David Warner and Steve Smith promises to make it tougher for the visiting team than it was in 2018-19, Atherton believes the balance of any top order plays a key role in doing well in Australia.
“[Mayank] Agarwal… what does he average? 55 or something after a dozen Test matches? Rohit Sharma averages 46 after 30 odd Tests. Then you’ve got back-up openers like Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul. Seems to me India are quite well-placed,” Atherton said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop Show.
“Pujara is a fabulous player. India are about to go to Australia. That top of the order is so important in Australia, because if you can have a solid, successful start there, as soon as that Kookaburra ball loses its shine, you can have some lovely batting conditions there. That opening position, the No. 3 position offering a solid base is really important. I would have thought that Sharma and Agarwal would open, followed by Pujara at 3 and then Kohli and beyond and that’s the way India will go.”’
“What really should give India hope is the strength of the bowling attack. It’s very difficult to win in Australia without strong seam attack,” he added. “One of the great things in the last few years about Indian cricket is seeing this sea change in terms of the quality of fast bowlers they’ve produced. When I played in India in ‘93, it was completely spin-based. They obviously had good fast bowlers back then but I don’t think it was of the same depth they have now.”