Australia and India will renew their rivalry when the two sides play the first Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide.
This series has been touted as the best chance for the Indian team to win their maiden Test series down under. Australia is missing two of their best batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner. But on the flip side, Australia still possess a full bowling attack comprising of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, and others.
Indian team was struck a blow even before the series gets underway, as teenage opener Prithvi Shaw suffered an ankle injury and was ruled out of the first Test at Adelaide. This came as a huge setback given that Shaw had started off well in the practice match.
With just a day to go for the commencement of the first Test in Adelaide, Team COC presents the possible Team India’s playing XI in the match.
Here is the COC Predicted Team India playing XI for the first Test in Adelaide
With Prithvi Shaw ruled out of the first Test, the onus of opening is most likely to fall on KL Rahul and M Vijay. Vijay announced his intentions with a brilliant century in the second innings of the practice match, while Rahul also showed signs of returning into form.
The middle order of the Indian team is most likely to remain the same, with the ever dependent Cheteshwar Pujara likely to continue at the no.3 spot, who has a lot to prove himself, after a lukewarm England tour, which yielded a century and a couple of fifties for him.
The main target of the Australian bowling attack will be the Indian captain Virat Kohli at the no.4 spot. Kohli was the best batsman from the Indian side on the two overseas tours this year and has single-handedly carried the Indian batting on his shoulders. He also requires 393 runs in 3 Tests in 2018 to break the record of Kumar Sangakkara, for the most runs in a calendar year.
Ajinkya Rahane is most likely continue at no.5 and though he too had a below par series in England and will look to recreate the magic of 2014-15 series.
At no.6 there is a contest between Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja, but Hanuma Vihari has the edge of being a better batsman than Jadeja, despite his recent Test hundred against the Windies. Vihari has shown that he is open to bowling more and more overs to give the main bowlers rest in between spells. Rishabh Pant’s twin scores of 92 in the two Tests against Windies may get him the nod ahead of more experienced Parthiv Patel behind the stumps and the fact that ball comes onto the bat in Australia on hard pitches, will help Pant score more freely.
R Ashwin, despite not having a very good record in Australia, is most likely to be the only spin option in the playing XI. Ashwin will have to compete with the success that his Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon has got on the same pitches.
He needs to give a good performance in Australia given his recent outing in England and his batting will be most needed given that India is missing the services of Hardik Pandya.
India must have the best fast bowling attack since their debut in Test cricket with 3-4 quicks capable of sustaining the speeds of over 140 kmph for a long period of time. However, with the possibility of only three spots for them, it is highly likely that India will go in with Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah for the Adelaide Test.
Ishant Sharma is on his fourth tour to Australia and his experience is invaluable in these conditions. Given that he is accustomed to bowling long spells and create pressure at one end, Virat will be hoping that Ishant comes good one more time for his team.
Jasprit Bumrah is most probably an automatic selection, given his bowling acumen and the way he adjusted himself in foreign conditions in South Africa and England respectively and came through for India, picking up five-wicket hauls both series.
The last spot for the fast bowler is a fight between Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami. Here it is possible that India goes with Mohammad Shami, who surprisingly played all the five Tests against England and was impressive in the practice match against CA XI also. Shami was brilliant in the 2014-15 series also and now with experience and better fitness and technique, Shami is likely to cause more damage than before.
COC Predicted Team India playing XI for the first Test:
M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), R Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah