New venues to curb India's advantage |

New venues to curb India's advantage

16 February 2017

With three grounds hosting Tests for the first time, Australia's hosts may have their formidable home advantage curtailed

India's home-ground advantage could be diminished ever so slightly during their four-match series against Australia, with three of the four venues yet to host a Test.

India have played Twenty20 and one-day internationals at the grounds in Pune, Ranchi and Dharamsala.

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But Virat Kohli's side have never donned the whites in those cities, one of which has been Steve Smith's stomping ground during the Indian Premier League.

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"With three out of the four venues having their first Test, we've played IPL games here, that's probably going to help us," Glenn Maxwell said in Mumbai, where Australia start a tour game against India A on Friday.

Smith has played Twenty20 cricket for both Pune Warriors and Rising Pune Supergiants during the IPL.

It means the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium will hold few surprises for Australia's skipper at the toss when the highly-anticipated series starts next Thursday.

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"I've played there quite a bit. I know that place quite well," Smith said upon arrival in India.

"I've never played a Test match there. I'm sure it's going to be a little bit different to a T20.

"But it's still nice to go somewhere that you feel quite comfortable in and you've spent a lot of time out in the middle, hopefully I can spend a lot more time out in the middle there."

David Warner, who captained Hyderabad to the IPL title last year, Smith and Maxwell headline a 16-man Australian Test squad stacked with IPL experience.

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There are few similarities between the lucrative T20 league and Test cricket in the world's second-most populous nation.

The format is different. The pitches are prepared differently and the demands aren't comparable.

However, Maxwell is confident Australia's IPL experience will count for something during the next six weeks.

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"The wickets aren't exactly the same ... (but) the training conditions are probably something you get out of the IPL," Maxwell said, having made his Test debut during Australia's calamitous tour of India in 2013.

"The IPL practice wickets are probably more similar to what you're going to face in the Test matches over here, with a bit of wear and tear and variable bounce.

"So I think having those guys (with IPL experience) in our squad is only going to help, and with the experience of playing in front of these crowds."

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Maxwell added the heaving atmosphere was the biggest similarity.

"The crowds are very vocal, they're screaming the whole time," Maxwell said.

"It's one of my favourite places to tour, just with how much they love their cricket and how excited the crowds are, it's a hell of an experience."

Test Squads

India (for first two Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya.

Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Australia's schedule in India

Feb 17-19, Tour match v India A, Mumbai

Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune

Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru

Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi

Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala