India ready with their bag of tricks for Steve Smith's Australia

India ready with their bag of tricks for Steve Smith's Australia

India take on Australia in the 4-Test series, with the opener to be held in Pune.

They have won six Test series in a row and as everyone knows the Indians have always been formidable opponents at home.

Any changes to the Indian combination will depend on the pitch's final appearance. There were two really flat ones. When Bangladesh played this month they found the most difficult periods to bat were between overs 10 and 45, when the ball was still relatively hard, then easing from the 50th over as the ball softened. They are now the number one Test team in the world and are unbeaten in their last 19 matches in the format.

India, on the other hand, is in no such quandary.

All the pre-series talk could indicate another strong showing from the hosts, but to think the Australians are a spent force would be a silly mistake.

Neither player looks likely to feature in the first Test. Khawaja was not even given a chance to impress in Australia's only-warm up game, against India A in Mumbai, so it would now be a surprise if he plays at Pune.

As coach Anil Kumble pointed out yesterday, India have not fielded the same eleven during this successful phase due to a variety of reasons including injuries. We have been working together and working on different things. "We certainly take it one game at a time". Kohli who is in brilliant form has amassed 1457 runs in 13 Tests with average of over 80, the Australians will face an uphill task to stop the run machine.

"Obviously you expect that (lack of bounce) I guess, most of the games", he noted.

"We will look to play positive cricket, attacking cricket not only against the spinners but all the bowlers".

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The stubborn lower-order batting has often helped the team come out of tricky situations and score big.

"I don't judge myself after every series".

"I learnt quite a lot out of playing in Sri Lanka".

Having scored four Test double centuries in his last four series - breaking Sir Don Bradman's and Rahul Dravid's record runs of three - Kohli is now going for five against the Aussies. If Kohli should fail, India's mood could turn to anxiety. The batsmen made a comeback into the team after a lay-off performed exceedingly well. They are enjoying an enviable run and are playing in familiar surroundings.

Kohli is second in test rankings behind Australia counterpart Steve Smith and lauded his opposite number for developing himself into a top-class batsman.

Ashwin became the fastest to get 250 Test wickets ahead of everyone else.

"We get along really well and on the field we're professional enough to understand it's going to be a competition". At the end of the day, you want the team to be self-sufficient, you don't want people to keep looking behind their shoulder for advice. "But I know where to draw the line of friendship on the field".

"I have seen him in the academy when he was never a dominant batsman". I have definitely changed my approach to the subcontinent conditions compared to four years ago. That's the beauty about this team.

"People who have standout performances are the ones in the limelight but guys who have important contributions, specially with the ball, are the ones that take those important one or two wickets in between the innings to give the spinners a bit of rest and then come back and attack again".