Australia and India Test series may not be quite the same level as the Ashes. Still, it series remain one of the most anticipated clashes. Even the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith hasn’t robbed it of its marquee status. If anything, the interest has increased, and every cricket fan is keen to see if India can at last win a series down under! The first Test in Adelaide will definitely tell us how the series will swing.
The Aussies are still missing the presence of Warner and Smith, but the form of Usman Khawaja is a positive from the last series against Pakistan. Marcus Harris could be drafted as an opener that could pave way for Shaun Marsh and Khawaja forming pillars of the middle-order. Questions remain, however, on their batting ahead of the start of the series.
There are no such worries on their bowling combination, as Australia have the most potent trident of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Nathan Lyon’s off-spin could be handy in Adelaide, especially considering how the Indians have struggled against quality spinners in the recent times.
This is India’s best chance to win a series for the first time down under, although they have only won five of the 44 Tests played in Australia. Indeed, India have won only one of their 11 Tests played at this venue, losing seven. However, the injury to opener Prithvi Shaw puts pressure on the openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul to deliver.
The biggest pressure will be on captain Virat Kohli, who has three centuries in the four innings he has played in Adelaide. The Indian bowling attack with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma will definitely test the struggling Australian batsmen.
Australia have a proud record at Adelaide, having won their last five Tests here. In addition, the Kangaroos are unbeaten in nine home Tests against India, winning six and drawing three. Even with a depleted and misfiring squad, the home advantage gives the Aussies an edge.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Virat Kohli should be the first name on your team, especially considering the form he is in, this calendar year – 1, 053 runs in just ten Tests. He loves playing at this venue as well and will be a favourite to start the series with a bang.
Mitchell Starc will love to show that he can lead his side, especially with the Aussies in need of a lift ahead of this big series. His tussle with Kohli could be a feast to cricket lovers, but even otherwise he should relish getting among wickets.
Mitchell Marsh copped a lot of criticism in the recent matches, but his ability to change gears with the bat, as well as contribute with the ball. The Australian vice-captain should be eager to answer his critics and that makes him an ideal pick for your fantasy team!
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Australia (probable XI): 1 Marcus Harris 2 Aaron Finch 3 Usman Khawaja 4 Shaun Marsh 5 Travis Head 6 Mitchell Marsh 7 Tim Paine (Capt) 8 Mitchell Starc 9 Pat Cummins 10 Nathan Lyon 11 Josh Hazlewood
India (probable XI): 1 Murali Vijay 2 KL Rahul 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 4 Virat Kohli 5 Ajinkya Rahane 6 Hanuma Vihari 7 Rishabh Pant 8 Ravichandran Ashwin 9 Mohammed Shami 10 Ishant Sharma 11 Jasprit Bumrah