The India hockey team are set to face the number one side in the world, Australia, for a three-match Test series. The first match is scheduled for Thursday in Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh.
India, who have always been well-supported at home, have a tough job at hand, as Australia the squad comprise of some of the best players, which include the likes of Jamie Dwyer and Kieran Govers.
The India team underwent some serious training under the watchful eyes of coach Roelant Oltmans in Bengaluru. The chief coach has expressed happiness at the way his team are gelling as a unit. Oltmans is positive that India will put up a great show against Australia.
"We have had a couple of good training sessions and the boys are looking forward to taking on Australia in the Test series. They are a formidable team and we are confident of putting on a good show in front of the home crowd," Hockey India's official website quoted Oltmans as saying.
Irrespective of how great they might have been in their practice sessions, India players such as Sardar Singh, Ramandeep Singh, PR Sreejesh and others need to deliver against Australia, as it could play an important role in helping the team gain confidence ahead of the upcoming Hockey World League Finals, which starts on November 27.
The India-Australia Test series might be thought of as a friendly warm-up series before the HWL, however, the visitors will be eyeing revenge for the way they were beaten when the two teams met in a series Down Under, with India winning 3-1.
India will draw inspiration from that Test series victory over Australia.
Both teams will also want to use this three-match Test series as perfect preparation for the HWL, which will witness eight of the top teams in the world. India and Australia might also try to use their bench strength, adopt different formations and find their best combinations for the series.
The second and the third matches of the Test series is set to be played at Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium in Raipur on Sunday and Monday.
Where to watch live
India vs Australia 1st Test match is scheduled for 3 pm IST. Star Sports 1/HD will provide the live TV coverage in India, with live streaming option on starsports.com