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India v Australia fourth Test preview: Hosts expect to hit back after rare home reverse

India suffered a surprise home defeat in the third Test against Australia in Indore, but they are much fancied to wrap up a 3-1 series triumph by securing victory in Ahmedabad.

Having breezed into a 2-0 lead thanks to wins in Nagpur and Delhi, Rohit Sharma's men were bowled out for 109 and 163 on their way to a nine-wicket defeat in the third game of this four-Test series.

That was only India's second loss in their last 25 Test matches at home and they are 8/15 to get the better of the 11/4 Aussies at the world's biggest cricket ground - the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

WhatIndia v Australia, fourth Test
WhereNarendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
When04:00, Thursday 9th March
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsIndia 8/15, Australia 11/4, Draw 13/2

Spin set be king in Ahmedabad finale

A century from skipper Rohit helped India pile up 400 in their first innings of the first Test in Nagpur, but the team's other eight completed innings in the series have produced scores of 177, 91, 263, 262, 113, 109, 197 and 163.

Batting is unlikely to get any easier in Thursday's fourth Test in Ahmedabad, particularly if England's experiences there in 2021 are any guide.

Joe Root's side lost by ten wickets and an innings and 25 runs in back-to-back Tests at the colossal venue, posting totals of 112, 81, 205 and 135 as spinners Axar Patel and R Ashwin took full advantage of a turning pitch.

Australia's batters must contend with Axar, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 21 scalps in three matches following a long injury lay-off.

Jadeja is 7/4 to be India's Team - Top 1st Inns Bowler with Ashwin 7/4 and Axar 9/2, despite the fact that he took 20 wickets in the two Ahmedabad Tests against England with a ridiculous average of 9.3.

The Indian spinners are masters of their trade, especially in favourable conditions at home, but Australia's slow bowlers have exceeded expectations on this tour.

Senior spinner Nathan Lyon claimed 8-64 in the second innings in Indore, taking him above Ashwin in the series wicket-taking chart and the veteran offie is closing in on 500 Test victims.

Lyon is 8/11 to take over 5.5 Bowler Total Match Wickets and, after picking up just one scalp in the series opener, he has bagged seven and 11 in the next two matches.

He is 11/8 to be Australia's Team - Top 1st Inns Bowler, but youngsters Todd Murphy (10/3) and Matt Kuhnemann have also impressed.

Left-armer Kuhnemann took 5-16 in the first innings of the third Test, dismissing both India openers, while Murphy picked up 7-124 on his Test debut in Nagpur.

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Modern day masters aim to end on a high

With Pat Cummins back home in Australia due to a family illness, Steve Smith will again captain the tourists and his tactical nous was a key factor in their win in Indore.

Smith's men, now assured of a place in the ICC World Test Championship final, are 11/4 to square the series at 2-2 with India, who need a win to join them in June's showdown at The Oval, 8/15, and the draw 13/2.

On his last tour of India in 2017, Smith scored three brilliant centuries in four Tests, but his 2023 returns, admittedly on more challenging wickets, are 37, 25 not out, nought, nine and 26.

The prolific right-hander is 6/1 in the Batter to Score a Hundred in the Match betting and his fellow modern-day great Virat Kohli is 5/1.

Those odds reflect the likelihood of another unequal battle between bat and ball and Kohli, who made 27 and nought in the Ahmedabad Tests against England two years ago, averages just 25.7 in 23 matches since the start of 2020, and is 5/6 to score under 67.5 Batter Match Runs.

Aussie openers could kick on

Australia have been forced into several personnel changes during this series including Travis Head's promotion to open the batting after an injury to David Warner.

Head steered the Aussies to their victory target of 76 in Indore with a punchy unbeaten 49 off 53 balls and it could be worth backing Australia at 4/5 to score over 21.5 in the Team - Opening Partnership Total betting.

There is no easy time to bat on Indian pitches these days, but Head's opening partner Usman Khawaja has made impressive first-innings scores of 81 and 60 in their last two matches.

Both of Australia's top two like to play their shots, so that first-wicket runs line looks low enough and England opener Zak Crawley made 53 out of a total of 112 in the first innings of the third Test in Ahmedabad in 2021.

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