The Border-Gavaskar Trophy contested between India and Australia gets underway on February 9. The first of four Tests will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium, Nagpur, a ground renowned for its spin-friendly nature. 

After the Nagpur Test, the following three Test matches will be played in Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad, respectively. 

India are looking to register four consecutive Border-Gavaskar Trophy series wins in a row, a feat never achieved before since this bilateral was named after cricketing legends Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar

India won 2-1 away from home on their last two visits to Australia (2018-19 and 2020-21), and won by the same margin the last time they hosted the Aussies in 2017.

This is the last Test series for both these teams in the World Test Championship’s 2021-23 cycle. While Australia have confirmed their place in the final, India need to win by a 3-0, 3-1 or 4-0 margin to qualify for the final without depending on other results. 

If they win just two Tests in the series, they must hope that Sri Lanka don’t win any matches in their series against New Zealand. Let’s take a look at the conditions on offer in Nagpur to kickstart this much-awaited Test series. 

VCA Stadium, Nagpur pitch and weather report

VCA Stadium, Nagpur pitch report 

The average first innings score in Nagpur is 345 and the average second innings score (out of four) is 418. However, the number gradually declines to 209 in the fourth innings of a Test match. Historically, the VCA Stadium in Nagpur has provided tracks that start assisting the spinners as the Test match goes on. 

The Indian Express reported that the Indian coaching staff has requested for a rank-turner that produces sharp spin from Day 1. India have picked four spinners in the squad for the first two Tests - Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel - and will look to take advantage of the home conditions. 

VCA Stadium, Nagpur weather report

The weather conditions in Nagpur, starting from Thursday (Day 1 of the Test) are ideal for Test cricket. The temperatures are not expected to exceed 35 degrees celsius throughout the day’s play and no rain interruptions are expected over the five days. The visiting team might not be tested by the humidity as well, which is expected to range from 22% to 30% over the five days.

Photo Credit: Alamy