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AUSTRALIA V INDIA TESTS

Harbhajan predicts Aussies to struggle

17 February 2017

Harbhajan relished the role of antagonist during Tests against Australia // Getty

Former Test off-spinner says a 3-0 defeat is the best Australia can hope for in their upcoming series

Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, a long-time antagonist of Australian cricket, says the best the tourists can hope for in their upcoming series is to manage a draw in one of their four Tests.

And that's if everything goes to plan for Steve Smith's side.

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The provocative off-spinner has echoed the sentiments of his former skipper Sourav Ganguly by predicting a resounding victory to the home side in the four-Test series.

"If Australia play well, India will win 3-0. That is if Australia play well," Harbhajan told The New Daily. "Otherwise, 4-0."

Australia head into the series against the world International Cricket Council’s No.1 Test side as outsiders, having not won a match on the subcontinent since 2011. Their most recent Test victory on Indian soil came in 2004.

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Harbhajan, who has 417 Test wickets to his name, sees the visitors' lack of batting experience in Asia as their biggest concern.

"I don't think the wickets are going to be that easy for them," he said.

"If the ball starts spinning from the first ball, I don't think they will survive for long.

"This team, apart from (David) Warner and (Steve) Smith, I don't think will be able to play the game they play in Australian conditions here in India.

"That Australian team in the past had so much will and belief. I don't think this team has the belief to win in these conditions."

Harbhajan also questioned Australia's spin credentials, saying their frontline slow bowlers will struggle to adjust to Indian conditions.

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"I don't think they have the quality to do so. It is different bowling here and bowling there (in Australia)," he said.

"From the first ball you need to bowl that correct speed.

"Not many spinners have done that in India for the last 15 years."

Earlier this month, Ganguly said he wouldn't be surprised if India's current winning streak at home of 20 matches was extended to 23 by the conclusion of the upcoming series.

"Australia are going to find it difficult to win here," Ganguly told the Times of India. "It's hard to beat India in India.

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"There could not have been a much stronger side than the one that toured India in 2001 and yet they could not win.

"Even the likes of Waugh, Warne, McGrath and Gillespie could not beat us.

"I had predicted before the England Test series that it will be 5-0 in India's favour, but it ended 4-0, and against Australia it could go 4-0 as well."

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