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Usman Khawaja says playing behind closed doors against India will work in favour of Australia

Usman Khawaja says playing behind closed doors against India will work in favour of Australia

Sydney, May 11: Usman Khawaja said playing India behind closed doors at the end of the year might end up working in favour of the hosts. India are set to tour Australia for three ODIs and four Tests in December and January.

"It's definitely an advantage," he told Fox Sports News. "I remember the last time they came over for a one-day series, the roar for India was much bigger."

India, under Virat Kohli in the 2018/19 series, became the first Asian side to beat Australia in a Test series in their own den. The series featured stellar performances from batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Kohli and the fast bowling battery featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. The significant support that the Indian team garnered in each of the venues was also a feature of the series.

"Especially in Melbourne, the amount of expats they have over there, they flock in. And when India's on top they really let you know it," said Khawaja.

"It's a really weird feeling. When you're in India, you expect to be outnumbered massively but you can be outnumbered in Melbourne, as well as Sydney to some extent also," he said.

Australia were without talismanic duo David Warner and Steve Smith in that series and were still in the process of recovering from the 2018 ball tampering scandal. Khawaja admitted that India were the better team in the series.

"They were clearly the better team last time, we hung in there but (Cheteshwar) Pujara was outstanding and Kohli led from the front as a captain," he said.

"Their bowling unit was as good as I've ever seen an Indian bowling unit, they really went toe-to-toe with our bowlers. Our bowlers are still in great form, though, and this time Steve Smith and Davy Warner will be in the side too, so a little bit of difference in the batting line-up."

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are doubts over the much-anticipated series between India and Australia.

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Story first published: Monday, May 11, 2020, 10:06 [IST]
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