India captain Virat Kohli is a superior one-day international batsman to Australia counterpart Steve Smith, according to former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke.
Kohli and Smith are poised to go head-to-head in five ODIs and three Twenty20s, starting in Chennai on September 17.
Both men have taken their game to new heights since taking on the captaincy of their countries – Smith has averaged almost 70 in Tests since replacing Clarke, while a hundred in the recent whitewash-sealing win over Sri Lanka left Kohli with just the iconic Sachin Tendulkar above him in terms of 50-over international centuries.
And Clarke believes those achievements highlight clearly the field in which field each man excels.
"In limited-overs cricket, I think Virat is ahead of Steve, but just by that much," he said. "Smith I believe is a better Test batsman.
"I think over the next few days, everybody would want to speak about Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli but at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing, and that is the team that wins.
"It doesn't matter who makes the runs – Kohli or Smith. At the end of the day, your job as a captain is to win."
Clarke added: "Another focal point besides their batting is their assessment as leaders. And honestly, at the moment, I think it's very even at this stage of their careers.
"Two young captains, two very good players and they both continue to improve. Along with that, like I said, what's important as a captain is that your team is winning.
"And at the moment, Kohli's team is winning. Smith needs to find a way to crack that momentum early on in the series and needs to find a way for Australia to pick it again."
Smith contributed 55 as Australia's preparations kicked up a gear with a 103-run win over the Indian President's XI in Chennai on Tuesday.
David Warner hit 64 at the top of the order, while Marcus Stoinis top-scored with 76 before Ashton Agar took 4-44 to boost his chances of selection in the series.
|Athletic Bilbao 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Correa and Carrasco strike in second-half surge|
|Simon suffers surprise Moselle Open exit as home hopes struggle in Metz|
|South Africa announce India schedule and planned four-day Zimbabwe Test|
|I have nothing to prove - Paulinho|
|Prodl pens new four-year Watford contract|
|Monaco renew Subasic, Raggi deals|
|Stoneman is ready for Ashes test - Cook|
|Sampson sacked as England Women´s boss|
|Manchester United to act against ´offensive behaviour´ after Lukaku race row|
|Atletico Madrid´s Wanda Metropolitano to host 2019 Champions League final|
|Flying Dutchman Dumoulin crowned world champion|
|Wickmayer topples Peng in Guangzhou, Hogenkamp makes Seoul progress|
|Solomona focused on Sale rather than England return|
|‘Raging Bull’ Jake LaMotta dies aged 95|
|Chelsea confident of recruitment compliance amid FIFA investigation|
|Brighton seal permanent signing of Newcastle keeper Krul|
|Louw, Nkosi and Schreuder get Springboks call|
|Perez donates 3m pesos to Mexico earthquake fund|
|Injured Mathews out of opening Pakistan Test|
|Double leg break victim Rossi to attempt incredible Aragon GP return|
|Barcelona condemn Spanish crackdown on Catalonia independence vote|
|Muguruza marches past Puig, Pliskova and Kerber progress in Tokyo|
|Benzema seals Real Madrid stay until 2021|
|Smith defends captaincy ahead of landmark ODI|
|Perisic promised Inter can match Manchester United|
|The race is on - Aubameyang lays down Lewandowski challenge|
|Cristiano Ronaldo´s Real Madrid return confirmed|
|Bellew tells Haye ´I oblige you´|
|Mbappe can prove he´s ready for Madrid at PSG - Morientes|
|Five-year ban for Pakistan batsman Latif|
|PSG ´destroyed the market´ with Neymar and Mbappe - Elber|
|Bulldogs chairman says sacked Hasler will not be compensated|
|Coutinho withdrawal inspired Leicester to victory, claims Shakespeare|
|Windies opener Brathwaite cleared to bowl|
|Valverde hopes Suarez benefits from Eibar rest|
|Wilshere returning to his best form - Wenger|
|Yankees, Cardinals keep pace in postseason race|
|Klopp: Liverpool are still a good football team|
|Pochettino hails ´top player´ Alli|
|Messi from ´another planet´, says Semedo|
|James performance pleases Ancelotti|
|Gordon´s homer breaks MLB single-season home run record|
|Spieth feeling good ahead of Tour Championship|
|Thomas unsurprised by stunning season|
|Lakers confirm Bogut signing|
|Maestro Messi brings up 300 Camp Nou goals|
|Saints trade 2015 first-round pick Anthony to Dolphins|
|Messi is extraordinary – Valverde hails Barcelona star|
|Inter eyeing Champions League return - Eder|
|UCI reduces Grand Tour team sizes|
|Klopp ´sick´ of conceding as Liverpool tumble out of EFL Cup|
|Hodgson urges caution over Souare handling|
|Gasquet stunned by Istomin in Metz|
|Barcelona 6 Eibar 1: Majestic Messi leads romp with four goals for LaLiga leaders|
|Burnley 2 Leeds United 2 (aet, 3-5 pens): Lonergan the penalty hero as Championship leaders cause cu|
|Matic and Fellaini have never been this good – Mourinho tells Carrick, Herrera to be patient|
|I´m the first to trust young players - Conte defends Chelsea youth record|
|Inconsistent Windies disappoint Holder|
|Bairstow pleased to take ODI chance|
|Tottenham 1 Barnsley 0: Alli sees off stubborn Tykes|
|Bologna 1 Inter 1: Contentious Icardi spot-kick maintains Spalletti´s unbeaten run|
|Leicester City 2 Liverpool 0: Okazaki, Slimani dump Klopp´s men out of EFL Cup|
|Schalke 0 Bayern Munich 3: James scores on first Bundesliga start|
|Atletico benefiting from competition of fringe players - Simeone|
|England centurion Bairstow ends West Indies´ World Cup hopes|
|Manchester City have got two players for every position - Delph|
|Peng digs deep to avoid Guangzhou upset|
|Youzhny and Troicki battle through in St. Petersburg|
|Rossi close to Aragon return after completing 20 laps|
|Bayern could say they don´t need me – Lewandowski accepts football´s cut-throat nature|