“India, they’re talking up a good game but they’ve come off a pretty disappointing series in England ... their away form is pretty ordinary over the past five or 10 years," Waugh was quoted by Fox Sports. "I think Australia might surprise actually."
India have never managed to win a Test series in Australia drawing 3 and losing 8 of their 11 campaigns but with the hosts in a state of turmoil following the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the nation in March, many believe this gives India the best chance to rewrite history.
Australia will be without the services of Steve Smith and David Warner, two of the best batsmen in the world and while that in itself is a huge dent, Waugh was confident that if the hosts can score a total excess of 350+ in the first innings the side possessed bowlers which had the calibre to take 20 wickets.
“I think if Australia can score 350 runs in our first innings we’ll win the Test match," said Waugh. "Our bowlers are world class and particularly in our conditions we’ll take 20 wickets. As long as we can score runs, if we get 350 in the first innings, we’ll win the series.”
Having said that Australia's poor form of late where they were clean swept by England in an ODI series at home 5-0 followed by a 1-0 loss to Pakistan in a Test series in the UAE is genuine cause for concern. More recently they lost the ODI series to South Africa 2-1 and the lone T20I as well at home.
Waugh admitted that India stood a good chance to get something out of the series this time around, but backed Australia’s star bowling quartet of Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins to do the job for the side.
"They (India) have got a very good side. They will see this as their best opportunity to win in Australia for a long time," he quipped.
“(Virat) Kohli is a great leader and a great batsman. If a couple of others follow him in and start scoring runs they are a chance."
India's tour to Australia gets underway with a three-match T20I series in Brisbane on Wednesday followed by the much-anticipated four-Test series which begins in Adelaide on December 6. The ODIs will follow soon after the Tests end.
First Published: November 20, 2018, 9:18 AM IST