Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting Thursday boldly stated that Usman Khawaja will outscore Virat Kohli and backed the hosts to prevail over an optimistic Indian team eyeing its first Test series win Down Under.
"As much of a threat that the Indian fast bowlers might pose, I think he's got a game that can cope with it here in Australia. I'm going with him to be the leading run scorer and man of the series."
The four-Test series starts in Adelaide on December 6.
Kohli's four centuries and 692 runs at 86.50 on India's last Test tour to Australia four years ago was topped only by Steve Smith, but Ponting believes Khawaja's superb recent campaign against Pakistan has him primed to take a further leap in Smith and David Warner's absence.
"(Khawaja) will just pip Kohli," said Ponting.
"Kohli will play well I'm sure because he does everywhere he goes and had a great series against Australia last time.
He believed the home team's batsmen will fare better against the Indian pacers.
"Basically, it comes down to whichever team bats the best," said Ponting.
"Both fast bowling attacks are good but I think our batsmen will play better against their quicks than their batters will play against ours.
"India need to get off to a really good start (in the series). If they get behind the eight ball if those first two games then they might fight back and win one Sydney or Melbourne, but it will be too late.
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