India and Australia are gearing up for the opening day-night Test match of the four-match series at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, December 17.
The Indian cricket team would hope to make a winning start to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series as they will miss the services of captain Virat Kohli after the first Test, who will return to India to attend the birth of his first child.
While playing the pink-ball has its own challenges, Indian players will experience it only for the second time at the international level and first time away from home conditions. Australia, on the other hand, are better acclimatized to it.
Before the much awaited Adelaide Test begins on Thursday, here are the fantasy picks for the Australia vs India 1st Test:
India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has looked in great touch Down Under as he smashed a scintillating unbeaten hundred (117) against Australia A in their first practice match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The 32-year-old has scored runs against South Africa at home and against West Indies in the Caribbean last year as well. The Indian middle-order batsman made two hundreds and five fifties in the six Tests against the Proteas and West Indies in 2019, post Australia tour of 2018-19. Rahane will look to continue his good form in the pink-ball Test.
Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne is undoubtedly one of Team India’s biggest threats in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In his short Test career so far, Labuschagne has amassed 1459 runs in 14 Test matches at a staggering average of 63.43. He has already hit four tons and eight half-centuries. Earlier this year, the 26-year-old had smashed his first double-century (215) in the third Test match against New Zealand at the SCG. Even though Labuschagne has not played a single Test match against India, he will look to stamp his authority in the Adelaide Test.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami was the wrecker-in-chief for India as he helped the visitors register a decisive draw against Australia A in the second and final practice match at Sydney before the upcoming four-match Test series. The 30-year-old had claimed three crucial wickets in the first innings to bundle Australia A to a paltry 108. He looked in great rhythm in the second innings as well where he troubled the hosts once again by picking two more wickets. Interestingly, Shami had bagged 16 wickets in India's historic triumph Down Under in 2018-19.
Australia pacer Mitchell Starc will look to make amends in the pink-ball Test after he looked out of sorts in the ODI series against India. After Starc missed the final two T20Is following an unspecified family illness, he will look to return with a bang. Starc boasts of a staggering record in day-night Tests, having claimed 42 wickets in seven matches. The 30-year-old pacer is coming off a sensational 2019-20 season where he scalped 45 wickets at an average of 18.42 and a strike rate of 34.8. Starc will look to prove a point when he takes to the field on Thursday in Adelaide.