If India doesn’t land the first punch by clinching the opening day-night Test against Australia, the going will get very tough for the visitor in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli, feels former national coach Anil Kumble.

India will start the Border-Gavaskar Test series with the day-nighter at Adelaide, from December 17, and Kumble feels that the match will be the “biggest challenge” for India. Kohli will return home after the opening Test for the birth of his first child.

“If we can stay ahead in the first Test match then India has a great chance to repeat what they did in the last Australia tour,” Kumble said during the Mutual Funds annual conclave ‘The Winners’ Circle’ organised by L&T Financial Services.

“Although with [Steven] Smith and [David] Warner coming back [after their ball-tampering bans the last time] and then Virat [Kohli] missing the three Test matches…

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