Virat Kohli, India, Australia, Test series, schedule

The IPL 2017 auction fun is over, and it is back to concentrating on the best format of the game, with India and Australia set to slug it out in a four-match Test series.

Mitchell Starc vs Virat Kohli

In the final leg of a long home season, which has seen New Zealand, England and Bangladesh set foot on these shores to try and trump Virat Kohli's men, India will want to finish off on a high with another brilliant series performance against Australia.

India have won eight of the nine Test matches played this season at home. They beat New Zealand 3-0 and England 4-0, before stopping Bangladesh from pulling off a draw in the one-off Test match.

While Kohli looked at the England series as the most difficult of these four contests at home, there will be a lot of pressure on India, having dominated every single team so far, to blank Australia as well.

Expectations will only be increased by the fact that the last time Australia toured India, the home team whitewashed them 4-0.

Another four-match Test series beckons and there will be a tinge of disappointment, albeit a greedy one, if India do not repeat that same result again.

All signs, however, point to an India series victory – maybe not a whitewash, but a victory all the same.

India have been a team transformed since Kohli has taken over, winning six consecutive series, a record, and Australia have looked like a lost little puppy when they have toured the sub-continent.

The Aussies were thumped by Sri Lanka last year in the Lankan island, with their batsmen struggling to cope with the spinners of the home side.

Better preparation has been done this time around to avoid another calamitous batting show, with Australia training in sub-continental-like pitches in Dubai to try and get as acclimatised as possible.

In the one tour match as well, Australia showed they might make a better batting fist of this series, with Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh striking centuries, while Mitchell Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Matthew Wade looked good with the bat as well.

David Warner might not have been able to get a big score in that match, but the left-hander usually saves his big knocks for the big occasions. If Warner wants to be considered a true world-class Test star, he needs to get his batting and form in order in sub-continental conditions.

And if Warner manages to find his batting mojo in Test match cricket in India, Australia will be a real force to reckon with.

Considering the form that Smith is in and the fact that he is a really good player of spin, you expect the captain to score plenty of runs. What he needs is help and therefore, there is a lot of pressure on Warner, Matt Renshaw, Handscomb and Shaun Marsh to chip in with big scores as well.

The key to beating India is by putting on a really big score in the first innings. And the best way to do that is by the batsmen making huge scores. Kohli and co. have shown just how that can be done and Australia need to take that example and put it into practice if they are to stand any chance of competing with India in this series.

India vs Australia Test series 2017 schedule

1st Test:

Date: Thursday, February 23 to Monday, February 27.

Time: 9.30am IST, 3pm AEDT, 4am GMT.

Venue: MCA International Stadium, Pune.

2nd Test:

Date: Saturday, March 4 to Wednesday, March 8.

Time: 9.30am IST, 3pm AEDT, 4am GMT.

Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

3rd Test:

Date: Thursday, March 16 to Monday, March 20.

Time: 9.30am IST, 3pm AEDT, 4am GMT.

Venue: JSCA Stadium, Ranchi.

4th Test:

Date: Saturday, March 25 to Wednesday, March 29.

Time: 9.30am IST, 3pm AEDT, 4am GMT.

Venue: HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala.

TV guide:

India: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD3, Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1. Australia: Fox Sports. UK: Sky Sports 2. Middle East: OSN Sports Cricket HD. New Zealand: Sky Sport. USA and Canada: Willow TV. South Africa: SuperSport.