Indian cricket team, under captain Virat Kohli, has scaled new heights. Unbeaten in 19 straight Tests, the world No. 1 side faces No. 2 Australia in a four-Test series, starting on February 23 in Pune. Apart from keeping their winning momentum intact, India will have a huge financial incentive in mind against the team from Down Under.
In the four-Test series, India can ensure their world No. 1 status till April 1, by winning just one Test. And if that happens, India will get $1 million (Rs 6.70 crore) as the prize money from International Cricket Council (ICC).
India currently have 121 points while Australia are on 109.
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However, if Australia can defeat India 4-0 in the Test series then they will become the No. 1 team. If Australia wins the series with a 3-0 margin, then the two teams will be joint No. 1 on April 1. In case, Australia win by 2-0 or 3-1 margin, then also India will remain No. 1.
So, Kohli’s side needs to win at least one Test or draw at least two matches. However, going by the current form (India have won last six Test series that they played) winning more than that number is what the fans would be expecting.
The second-ranked Australia have been inconsistent in the near past. They lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka the last time they visited the sub-continent. So, the task is cut out for the Steven Smith-led team.
Australia will play a warm-up match against India A, starting on Thursday.
The four-Test series between India and Australia will start on February 23, with Pune hosting the first Test. Bengaluru, Ranchi and Dharamsala are the other venues.