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Australia vs India 1st Test Fantasy Preview: Team, Pitch report and probable XI

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The Indian cricket team will take on Australia in the first Test of the four-match series at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, December 17. 

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy will commence with the day-night test to be played with the pink ball in Adelaide. Interestingly, this is India’s first pink-ball Test away from home conditions.

Both India and Australia head into the longest format of the game with the same number of wins in the white-ball series. While Australia clinched the ODI series 2-1, the visitors bounced back to claim the T20I series 2-1. 

India had also played a three-day pink-ball practice match against the Australia A side, which ended in a draw.

Australia vs India 1st Test, Match Details

Date: December 17-21, 2020

Time: 09:30 AM IST

Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Pitch Report

The pitch at the Adelaide Oval is generally a good batting wicket, however, the fast bowlers will have something to offer with the new ball. The spinners can expect to play their part in the last two days of the Test match.

Player availability

The Australian cricket team will be without the services of their openers David Warner and Will Puckovski. All-rounder Cameron Green is also doubtful for the Adelaide Test.

Meanwhile, the Aussies have added Marcus Harris to their Test squad and he is expected to open the batting for the Kangaroos.

On the other hand, India stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will not feature in the pink-ball Test. Both the players had suffered injuries in the Indian T20 League held in UAE.

Australia vs India 1st Test Predicted XI

Australia predicted XI: Tim Paine (wicket-keeper), Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

India predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav

Australia vs India Fantasy XI:

Wicket-keeper: Tim Paine

Australia Test captain Tim Paine will need to play a major role with the bat, gloves as well his leadership skills, if the hosts are to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The 36-year-old has played some important knocks coming lower down the order for the Kangaroos. In 31 Test matches, Paine has amassed 1,330 runs at a decent average of 31.66 with seven half-centuries to his name. Playing in his home conditions, the Australian skipper is a better bet than both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha.

Batsmen: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Steve Smith (captain), Marnus Labuschagne

India skipper Virat Kohli averages more than 50 across all the three formats of the game and has accumulated 7240 Test runs in 86 matches. The 32-year-old has already smashed 27 hundreds including seven double tons and 22 fifties. His staggering stats make him a no-brainer in any fantasy team.

World number one Test batsman Steve Smith is another such example of excellence, He has already amassed 7227 runs in the longest format at an astonishing average of 62.84. The former Australian captain has hit 26 tons including three double centuries to his name and 29 fifties in Test cricket.

Cheteshwar Pujara has been the backbone of India’s batting in Test cricket, scoring 5,840 runs in the 77 Test matches that he has played at an average of 48.66. The Saurashtra batsman has 18 hundreds and 25 half-centuries to his name. Pujara will look to see-off the pink-ball and lay a good foundation for the Indian middle-order.

Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne will be one of India’s biggest threats in the four-match Test series. In his short Test career so far, Labuschagne has accumulated 1459 runs in 14 Test matches at a staggering average of 63.43. He has already smashed four tons and eight fifties. Labuschagne is expected to contribute with his bat and set a huge total on the board at the Adelaide Oval. 

All-rounders: Cameron Green, Ravichandran Ashwin

All-rounder Cameron Green smashed a brilliant unbeaten century (125) for the Australia A side against India A in the first practice match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 21-year had impressed the selectors in the recently concluded white-ball series as wekk, and is expected to announce his arrival to the world in the day-night match in Adelaide.

India veteran Ravichandran Ashwin has been a match-winner for the Indian Test team over the last decade. The 34-year-old has scalped 362 Test wickets in 70 matches at an average of 25.36. Ashwin also has contributed with his bat, scoring over 2000 Test runs and has recorded four centuries and 11 fifties to his name. The off-spinner will look to help the Indian pace attack and give the team an early lead in the four-match Test series.

Bowlers: Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami

Having Pat Cummins is a no-brainer as the Australian pacer is currently the number one bowler in Test cricket, with a whopping 143 wickets to his name in only 30 matches. He will be fairly complemented by veteran Josh Hazlewood who has claimed 195 wickets in 51 Test matches. Hazlewood was Australia’s most lethal weapon against India in the limited-over series as well.

For India, the pace attack will be led by Jasprit Bumrah, who is the only Indian bowler to be inside the top 10 of the ICC Men’s Bowling Ranking. Bumrah has 68 wickets from 14 Test matches so far with an average of 20.34. He was rested in the T20I series alongside compatriot Mohammed Shami, who arrives at the back of an impressive outing in practice matches. With 180 wickets in 49 matches, Shami has all the experience in red-ball cricket.

 

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Peter Parks

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