Rahane: Australia still favourites despite Smith, Warner absence

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane feels Australia are still favourites to win the four-match Test series, starting on Thursday in Adelaide, despite the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner from the home team’s line-up.

Smith and Warner are still serving suspensions from the ball-tampering scandal and many pundits have stated this could be India’s best opportunity to win a Test series Down Under.

The Asian side have never won a series in the longest format in Australia in 11 attempts and Rahane still believes the hosts will still be favourites in their own conditions.

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Rahane said: “I feel that any team that plays at home, they feel really good, and I feel that Australia are still the favourites to win the series.

“We are not going to take them lightly at all. Yes, they will miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don’t think they are vulnerable.

“You see their bowling attack, they’ve got a really good bowling attack, and I think to win Test matches, you need to have a really good bowling attack. So I feel that Australia are really still the favourites.”

Rahane also says long partnerships will be key for India’s batsmen as they look to improve on their underwhelming displays in South Africa and England earlier this year.

The tourists will have arguably their best ever pace bowling attack in Australia but need their batters to come to the party if they are to have success.

Rahane said: “When you do well as a team, you feel really good.

“This is a team sport – and it is the job of each and every bat to contribute for the team.

“And I think it’s important that we get those long partnerships together, in Australia that will really help us a lot.”