India will look to sort out their team combination as the Test squad gets into action by taking on Australia 'A' in a three-day practice match at Drummoyne Oval from Sunday (December 6).
Mayank Agarwal is likely to open the innings for the visitors but there is a question mark over his partner with the choice being between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill.
Shaw opened with Agarwal in New Zealand earlier this year. However, the Mumbaikar hasn’t been in good touch in recent times as he scored 228 runs in the IPL 2020 for Delhi capitals. On the other hand, Gill aggregated 440 runs for Kolkata Knight Riders and also looked in fine rhythm in the third ODI.
KL Rahul is another option for the opening slot but the last time he had featured in a Test was in September 2019.
Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha will compete for the wicketkeeper's slot. Pant has been India's first choice in overseas Tests but he was axed from the limited-over squad and will have to deliver the goods to clinch his spot.
With skipper Virat Kohli going on paternity leave after the first Test, the onus will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari to look after the middle-order.
Rahane, who will lead India in the absence of Kohli, was last seen in action during the IPL 2020 for Delhi Capitals while Pujara and Vihari have last played a competitive game in the pre-COVID-19 days.
Coming to the fast bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami will spearhead the attack. The third pacer's spot will be up for grabs and Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj will be keen to seal it.
Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of the remaining T20I series against Australia after suffering concussion in the first game and it remains to be seen if he gets fit for the Tests.
Ravichandran Ashwin will be a certain pick in the playing XI if Jadeja is unavailable and it may also open the door for wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
(With PTI inputs)