The number one Test team India will be looking to start the series on a happy note. A win in the first game would boost their confidence and that will definitely push the Australians on backfoot in the series.
But before the game, India will have to find out their best eleven to feature in the first Test at Adelaide on December 6.
Former Indian cricketer and head coach Anil Kumble discussed the issue with Cricket Next. As per Kumble, the absence of Hardik Pandya is going to haunt team India. India is currently stuck on whether to go with 5 bowlers or 4 is enough to strengthen their batting?
Kumble explains the scenario and said, "That's a big blow, if you had Hardik Pandya in the team then he gives you the cushion of being the fifth bowler, gives you 10-15 overs, possibly a couple of wickets. So that's the advantage of a Hardik Pandya. He can bat at seven and give you runs as well, so that's the disadvantage that India is going with. But if you look at Adelaide. I mean we're sitting here and talking about the pitch but generally, if you look at the history of Adelaide, the wicket has always been good. You would want two spinners to play."
He added, "Ideally, I would want five bowlers because in Adelaide you should be able to depend on your lower order to contribute at least 100-150 runs. From your seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven; should be able to get 100-150 runs. So, the top order becomes critical as well. If you can score 350 runs and have five bowlers in your team then I think India has the upper hand. So, that's the decision that the team management will have to make, whether you want to go with four bowlers because you're looking at the bowling attack which probably is the best bowling attack.
"Their batting isn't necessarily great. So, if you're looking at that and you want to make sure that the batting is stronger to negate the bowling, then that to me seems like a little bit of a negative thought if you're thinking on those lines. Or you'd want to go one up in the first Test and you really attack Australia with two spinners."
Rishabh Pant has been in a fine form in the longer format. But is he a number 6 player in Australia? Kumble disagrees and said he would bat R Ashwin above him.
"No, that's why I thought when Ashwin moved up the batting order to number six, India should've persisted with that. I certainly believe that Ashwin is someone who can contribute at that position, especially when India travel abroad. Even in the last series, Ashwin batted really well, he's done well overseas. He has the temperament and also the technique. He just needs to be in that position for a longer period of time.
"I believe he's someone who can bat the second new ball and also play that role of number six, then probably Rishabh can bat at seven then bat really well with the tail, which then gives him the freedom to go and play his natural game rather than put pressure on someone like Rishabh Pant at number six," Kumble added.