Khawaja will outshine Kohli, predicts Ponting

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes the host can put the series to bed after the first two Tests.

India skipper Virat Kohli and Usman Khawaja share a light moment during the T20I series that concluded in Sydney.   -  Getty Images

 

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes Usman Khawaja will fare better than Virat Kohli in the forthcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting December 6 in Adelaide.

“He’s on top of his game, his record in Australia is outstanding. As much of a threat that the Indian fast bowlers might pose, I think he's got a game that can cope with it here in Australia. I'm going with him to be the leading run scorer and man of the series. (Khawaja) will just pip Kohli.

“Just where they're starting in Adelaide and Perth – if they leave something in them, Kohli is a bit more vulnerable in those conditions than Melbourne and Sydney,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

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“Right now he's (Khawaja) in a really good place, the selectors backed him through that UAE tour, gave him a chance and he came out (better) on the other side of that.

“With the skill that he's got and maybe a bit more belief in his own game than ever before, I think he's got the perfect package to have a great summer,” he added.

Ponting agrees that both the sides have a quality pace attack. He feels the side that bats better will win the series.

Being the highest run-scorer (2,555 runs in 29 Tests) among Australians against India in Tests, he predicts the host to seal the series after two Tests.

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“We're talking 40 years of history with India coming to Australia and not being able to win because of the fast, bouncy nature of our pitches so I'd love to see them that way. If it's a wicket in Perth (which will host its maiden Test) like I saw for the one-dayer against South Africa then I can't see India making too many at all – that was a one-dayer and that (pitch) went all over the shop, with good pace and good bounce.

"With Adelaide being like it's been the last couple of years, having a little bit more grass in the surface (will suit Australia).

"I'd like to see a little bit of grass left on them for the first two and then I think Australian can put the series to bed after two Tests.”

Among the bowlers, Ponting put his money on Josh Hazlewood.

“Adelaide and Perth will suit him down to the ground with the way he bowls and the way he presents the seam in those venues,” he continued.

“Being six (foot) five or six (foot) six (tall) as well, he'll exploit the bounce that a lot of Indians won't be comfortable with.”