In what could be called a statement move, the Indian cricket team management decided to name its starting XI for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy one day before the match and have gone for Prithvi Shaw as their opener in what could be called as a brave decision. The hosts are still unsure about the XI they’d want to field for the Day and Night Test at Adelaide and have reserved the judgement till the matchday to announce their squad.
There were major selection calls to be made by both the teams before the first Test so let’s get deeper into how the teams are shaping up ahead of this mega event.
Ahead of the Adelaide Test, Justin Langer and the Australian selectors are facing a conundrum when it comes to finding their top order combination. It seemed like Will Pucovski who was scoring runs for fun in Shield Cricket would be a natural fit with David Warner at the top of the order but both seem to be ruled out from the first Test. Will’s ninth concussion has delayed what could have been a memorable Test debut at Adelaide against India. David Warner pulled his groin in the limited-overs series and was ruled out for the first Test at least. That leaves a burning question for the Aussie management, no pun intended. Will they go for Joe Burns who is horrendously out of form? Will they make Matthew Wade as a makeshift opener just for the first Test? Tim Paine seems to be leaning towards the two.
In his pre-match press conference, he also confirmed that batting all-rounder Cameron Green is all set to make his debut in this match and will bat at number six for them. Green is coming into the match after scoring a hundred in the practice match and picked up a five-wicket haul as well. There were some concerns about the concussion he suffered in the last tour game when Jasprit Bumrah hit the ball straight back at him but he seems to have recovered in time for the match.
There are no doubts about the quality of the Australian bowling line-up and the players who would take up the spots. Mitchell Starc seems to have joined the camp in time and will line up along with Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins as the three fast bowlers. Australia’s greatest off-spinner Nathan Lyon is just ten wickets shy of becoming the third Australian bowler to 400 Test wickets and the second spinner in history to pick 100 wickets against India. Expect him to achieve this feat in this series. Here’s how the hosts might line up for the first Test.
PREDICTED AUSTRALIAN XI: Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (WK) (C), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
In a bullish move, India have announced its playing XI for the first Test. All eyeballs went to the opening spot, with many thinking that Shubman Gill might get a go as he looked all class in the practice matches but surprisingly India have backed Prithvi Shaw to open the innings with Mayank Agarwal. Shaw has a habit of scoring quick-fire 30s or 40s and not converting them into substantial innings but his Test record, albeit a small sample size, proves differently.
The other position which was under scrutiny was the keeper’s job. India have gone with the better gloveman rather than the better batsman and Wriddhiman Saha gets the call up ahead of the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant. The southpaw smashed a 73-ball hundred in the practice match against Australia A and many thought that it’ll be enough for him to be picked ahead of Saha but the Indian management has taken a conservative call on this.
The third seamers spot was also up for grabs and Umesh Yadav clinched it in front of Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini. Yadav was brilliant with the new ball in the first tour game and neither Siraj nor Saini overly impressed in the next tour game. India have gone with the experienced ‘Vidarbha Express’ and would be hoping that he comes good with the pink ball.
The bowling line up looks strong and it’ll be interesting to see how much turn R Ashwin would get on what could be a grassy wicket at Adelaide. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami would look to replicate their strong performances from the last tour of Australia. Here’s how the Indian team are looking ahead of the Adelaide Test.
INDIA XI FOR THE FIRST TEST: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
Any day-night game features grass on the pitch to protect the pink ball. Expect the ball to seam around in the early part of the innings and under lights as well. While there may be a passing shower or two, rain shouldn’t have too much of a say in the Test match.
WHERE TO CATCH THE ACTION FROM THE FIRST TEST
Fans can catch the first Test live on the Sony network and the live stream on SonyLiv. Remember this is a day and night Test so the first ball will be bowled at 9:30 AM IST.
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