Cheteshwar Pujara backs India's chances against 'stronger' Australia in Test series

Victory for Indians during previous tour had come in absence of David Warner and Steve Smith

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 27: Cheteshwar Pujara of India bats as Travis Head of Australia jumps out of the way in the field during day two of the Third Test match in the series between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said his team is capable of repeating their heroics from their successful 2018/19 tour of Australia even though the hosts are stronger this time following the return of David Warner and Steve Smith.

Both Warner and Smith were unavailable for Australia while serving 12-month ball-tampering bans as India won their first Test series Down Under, beating the hosts 2-1 in the four-match series.

Warner and Smith have scored over 14,000 Test runs between them but Pujara said India's bowlers are capable of giving them every chance of winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

"Australia's batting lineup will be a little stronger than what it was in 2018-19, but then victories don't come easy," Pujara told the Press Trust of India.

"No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players. But the good part about our current crop of bowlers is that most of them play in the same series and our bowling unit will also not be very different to what it was in 2018/19.

"They know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past. They have their gameplans in place and if we can execute them well, they are capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly."

Pujara said they will however encounter a "different challenge" in the series opener in Adelaide when India play their second day-night Test with the pink ball, having played with it just once against Bangladesh on home soil.

"We will be playing with the pink Kookaburra in Australia, it will be slightly different," Pujara, the series' leading run scorer on their last visit, added.