Rated as one of the most-debated and highly intense rivalries in the modern times, the battle between India and Australia has never failed to live upto the hype of every cricket fan. After a closely fought T20I series where both the teams shared the honours 1-1, the focus has now been shifted to some serious cricket – Test cricket. Never in the history, a visiting team has started with the ‘favourites tag’ against the mighty Aussies (well, that moniker doesn’t justify their recent run of form) in their own backyard. But, Virat Kohli-led Team India is not only the number 1 ranked side in Test format but also has the capability to rewrite the history books this time.
Ahead of the first Test which is scheduled to take place in Adelaide from December 6, once again the age-old debate around Indian team’s playing combination and team selection have garnered all the hype in the cricketing circles. Known to tinker with his playing combination in order to try something new, India captain Kohli will look to start the four-Test series on a strong note. After losing the series against South Africa and England, winning the Test series in Australia will be a great note on which to end the season and look forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. But who will start against Australia in the first Test, what is India’s best playing XI? Here’s a look at India’s probable playing XI for the 1st Test vs Australia in Adelaide Oval.
Batting Combination –
With teen sensation Prithvi Shaw already out of contention due to an unfortunate ankle injury, the opening duties will rely majorly on experienced Murali Vijay and talented KL Rahul. Shaw picked up the injury during India’s only tour game against Cricket Australia XI. Vijay, who was dropped midway during India’s Test series against England has lately shown good form with the bat and put up strong performances in County cricket and for India A. Vijay also scored a brilliant hundred in the warm-up match against CA XI in Sydney. Whereas, Rahul didn’t had the best of the times in limited-overs cricket but has got the backing of team management and skipper Kohli. In absence of Shaw, the Karnataka-born batsman has got one more lease of life to prove his worth in traditional format of the game.
Bowling Combination –
Many cricket experts and former greats have widely hailed India’s all-round bowling attack as one of the best in the history of the game. With variety, skill, pace and power – the major responsibility will lie on the shoulders of Indian bowlers to pick up 20 wickets.
With Australia lacking the services of their experienced campaigners David Warner and Steve Smith, and the present Indian bowling arsenal appears like a formidable Test unit, who could prove to be the difference between the two teams. The visitors are likely to opt for the services of wily Ravichandran Ashwin (No. 7) over chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in the first Test. The fast bowling unit looks settled as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (No. 8) and Jasprit Bumrah (No. 9) will look to carry on their white-ball form in the red-ball cricket. The third pacer role can be given to India’s Test veteran Ishant Sharma (No. 10), who ended as the highest wicket-taker for Kohli and Co. during England tour.
The all-rounder spot is expected to go to Hanuma Vihari (No. 11), who has lately produced consistent performances with the blade for India A against New Zealand A. Vihari also played a crucial an 80-odd knock for India against CA XI in the practice match. He can also chip in with occasional off-break to help the bowlers take a breather.
India’s Probable XI vs Australia for Adelaide: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar