India vs Australia: India’s predicted XI for the 1st Test in Adelaide; tactical moves expected
India Vs Australia 1st Test 2018, Predicted XI: We take a look at the players who would walk out with Virat Kohli for the match at the Adelaide Oval.Updated: Dec 13, 2018 08:20 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
After all the talk, or the lack of it, after plenty of theories, after umpteen questions and plenty of answers, the India-Australia series is about to commence from Thursday morning.
There is no David Warner, no Steve Smith, and India appear to be favourites. There is Virat Kohli, the Indian bowling attack, yet, Australia with their own arsenal of bowlers should be confident.
Now, it all depends on executing all that is planned, it all depends on the players who walk out and their abilities.
We try to pick India’s playing XI for the first Test at the Adelaide Oval.
After two mediocre Tests in England, Murali Vijay was axed. He hopped across to Essex, got runs and found the spot as the 3rd opener in the Test squad. And then Prithvi Shaw was injured, and Vijay creamed a century in the second innings of the practice match. He seems to be motivated to make a statement and win his place back at the top of the order.
A tough series in England, a century in the final Test at Oval, two failures against West Indies at home, a loose stroke in the first innings of the practice innings, and then a fluent innings in the second innings. The story of KL Rahul, the story of his career. He has the backing of the team management, and perhaps the time is ripe for him to step up to be more consistent at the top of the order.
“Pujara gets all these runs at the top of the order in overseas condition as he mentally tough.” Sanjay Manjrekar told Hindustan Times.
At a time when aggression and ‘intent’ are the keywords, Pujara plays his own way, gets beaten, takes guard again and digs out runs. Not pretty, not aesthetic, but Test runs and he is an invaluable member of the Indian batting order.
After Kohli, he was the main man for India in England and he has a point or two to prove in Australia at the number three position.
The narrative surrounding this India team is quite staggering - ‘Get Kohli, bag the match’
Such has been the dominance of the Indian captain, that he will hog all the headlines right through the series. He has already made it clear that he wants to focus on his game rather than picking up fights on the ground. He looked as classy as ever in the practice games.
Former cricketers have dished out different theories to contain him and to dismiss him, but for a man who loves the spotlight, it is all building up for a bumper Kohli summer.
He was Kohli’s ally in 2014, but the graph of Ajinkya Rahane has dipped since then. He showed glimpses of his prowess in South Africa and England but did not leave a lasting impression on the match. On true Australian surfaces, Rahane should be at ‘home’ and if he gets going at number 5, this Indian batting looks a lot more secure.
It has been a staggering start to young Rishabh Pant’s Test career. He got off the mark by running down the track and smacking Adil Rashid for a six in England. A century at Oval followed and then against West Indies he was at home and looked just the man India have been searching at number six.
Australia will be a different challenge, there will be short-pitched stuff, there will be verbals, but hey, this is Test cricket!
Much will depend on the form of R Ashwin, the off-spinner, but the importance of Ashwin, the batsman should not go unnoticed. He has a good backfoot play and this should hold him in good stead in the series.
However, his biggest test will be how he fares with the ball, especially because he will be compared with Nathan Lyon and their performances will be pitted against each other.
If the curator’s word is anything to go by, there will be a decent covering of grass on the surface and this makes a strong case of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be included in the playing XI. He was brilliant in South Africa, but was injured in England. This series is a great opportunity for him to step and nail down his spot.
Also, he brings good value to the table with the bat and should look to contribute handy runs lower down the order.
He blows hot and cold, but on his day, Moahmmed Shami can run through batting orders. He should enjoy the pace and bounce in Australia, but has to focus more on hitting the proper line and length on a more consistent basis.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to do well in any conditions. We did well on the last two tours of South Africa and England. We are not even thinking like we have a pressure situation. Instead, we always think that we have an opportunity to do well,” Ishant said before the practice match.
It was not an entirely fruitful experience for the pace attack at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but Ishant knows that Test cricket is a different kettle of fish. He has the experience and now the ability to stick to his guns, a trait which would give Kohli plenty of hope.
28 wickets from the first six Tests of his career represents an impressive return for Jasprit Bumrah and he will be Kohli’s X-factor in the upcoming series.
Bumrah has pace, variations and a big heart and hence, he can be Kohli’s go-to man when the things appear flat.
First Published: Dec 04, 2018 17:11 IST