The much awaited test series between Australia and India begins on Thursday as the two teams square off against each other in the first of four tests at the Adelaide Oval.
This is regarded by many fans and pundits as India’s best chance to win a test series Down Undder, as the home side will be without the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith.
Team India would be hoping to cash in on this opportunity, and victory at Adelaide, where they have only won once, will inject a massive dose of confidence into this team.
Ahead of the first test match, India suffered a massive blow with young Prithvi Shaw ruled out after suffering an injury during the warm up game against CA XI.
The 19 year old twisted his ankle while trying to take a catch at the deep mid-wicket boundary off the bowling of R Ashwin.
The visitors will be hoping that the talented teenager would be fit in time for the second or the third test.
Senior batsman Murali Vijay who was dropped midway through the test series in England due to poor form, will therefore get another chance. The Tamil Nadu star also scored a century in the warm up game.
Lokesh Rahul’s form would be major concern for Team India, though he scored a fifty in the second innings against Cricket Australia XI.
India have named their 12 member squad with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav missing out.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are almost certain to feature, with one among Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma are expected to make it to the playing XI.
India are expected to dispense with the five bowler strategy preferred by Kohli in recent years and will go with the extra batsman.
The fast bowling attack would be lead by Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, with Ravi Ashwin providing support with his off spin.
The home side on the other hand are expected to hand a debut to Marcus Harris, with the Victorian lefty handed set to partner Aaron Finch at the top.
Usman Khawaja appears to have recovered from the knee injury he picked up in the UAE, and is expected to bat at Nos 3.
The Aussies have dropped all rounder Mitch Marsh for the opening test due to his indifferent form.
Peter Handscomb and Travis Head would be filling the middle order slots.
While the batting looks fragile, the bowling is at full strength, with Tim Paine able to call upon the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and off spinner Nathan Lyon.
India’s Playing XI
Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma/ Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Australia’s Playing XI
Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (capt), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc