The return of “legends” Steve Smith and David Warner besides a world-class bowling attack makes Australia red-hot favourites for the home Test series against India later this year, reckons the great Matthew Hayden.

India made history in Australia last January by winning their maiden Test series win Down Under, ending a 71-year wait. But, at that time, Smith and Warner were serving one-year ball-tampering bans.

“India and Australia, they are titans of the game. It is a shame that it is not a five-Test series, it is the absolute right number of Test matches to play. If you take this three-game ODI series, before an exciting environment is created by the fans, it is over,” Hayden told PTI on the sidelines of the series decider.

“Both sides are heavyweights of Test match cricket. It is going to be a closely fought series. Australia obviously have the conditions in their favour and world-class bowling attack and probably the best off-spinner that has ever played (Nathan Lyon)... Australia should win,” said the two-time World Cup winner.

Though the four-Test series is still some time away, the players, experts and fans are already looking forward to the teams renewing their intense rivalry.

Earlier this month, former Australia captain Steve Waugh too had told PTI that the presence of Warner and Smith would make life much tougher for India in the Australian summer.

Asked about the difference their presence makes, Hayden added: “You are talking about two incredibly fine players. Legends really now and their record at home is phenomenal, both of them.

“It will be a tough series for India for sure. The scoreline doesn’t matter but Australia should win it, they will be red-hot favourites.