Glenn McGrath makes Australia v India prediction and names 'X-factor' player

Glenn McGrath rates Australia as the ‘slight favourites’ ahead of their upcoming Test series against India and says ‘X-factor’ Mitchell Starc could be the difference between the teams.

India arrived Down Under this week ahead of their three-match IT20 series, three-match ODI series and four-match Test series against Australia.

Kohli’s side beat Australia 2-1 in 2019 to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but McGrath believes the Baggy Greens are well-placed to gain revenge this winter.

The legendary fast bowler said: ‘Umesh Yadav’s got raw pace, Mohammed Shami has great control and swings the ball both ways and Bumrah is just class.

‘He has great mental strength. His second and third spells are just as quick as his first. You have guys who, if on fire, are tough to beat.

‘But on par you have Josh Hazlewood, he bowls in good areas and is tall, strong. Then Pat Cummins is the No.1 bowler in the world.

‘He runs in all day, always gives 100 per cent. He gets slightly different angles because of the way he runs in.

‘Then you have left-arm Mitchell Starc. When he gets it right, he can pick four-five wickets at a go. He has got that X-factor.

‘If both teams are bowling at the top of their game, I would probably put Australia slightly ahead only because of the left-hander, which makes a big impact.’

The series opener will be a day-night Test in Adelaide and the match will be particularly important for Kohli, who will miss the rest of the tour due to paternity leave.

McGrath added: ‘That first Test is going to be interesting. That is a day-night Test. India haven’t played a day-night Test in Australia.

‘At night, with the sun setting, it will probably start favouring the fast bowlers. It will be about timing, when you are bowling or batting.

‘Virat, if he has to have an impact in the series, will have to make an impact in the only Test he is playing. That will set the tone. Two years back, the first Test win in Adelaide gave them a lot of confidence.

‘As far as other batsmen are concerned, Rohit Sharma is a quality batsman who hasn’t achieved at the Test level what he should be achieving.

‘Maybe when Virat goes home, he might just step up and show what he can do. You can’t just focus on one player. You have Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul. India has a strong batting line-up.’

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