India’s four-game Test series against Australia kicks off tomorrow (17 December) at the Adelaide Oval. This will be a Day/Night encounter with the pink ball providing plenty of intrigue between two of the world’s best cricket teams.
However, it will be a poignant match for India, as it will be the final game of the Australian tour to feature their influential captain Virat Kohli. The star has been granted paternity leave to miss the rest of the tour to return home for the birth of his first child.
The last time that a similar tour took place was in 2018/19 where India were in fine form with a 2-2-1 victory. However, this time around, the Indian team will have to work twice as hard to compensate for Kohli’s absence. As a result, many people are expecting Australia to win the Test series in favourable home conditions.
Who is in the Indian Test squad?
India have revealed a squad that is packed with talent. Noteworthy additions include the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. The pair are widely expected to open the Indian batting attack. It’s also worth mentioning that R Ashwin will be the only spin-bowler in the Indian team in Adelaide, while Wriddhiman Saha has earned the wicket-keeper spot.
India will be able to rely on their world-famous pace bowling attack of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. The batting line-up will be completed by the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane is expected to take over the captaincy duties when Kohli returns home.
The fact that it’s a pink-ball game means that Shubman Gill will be disappointed to miss out on the Adelaide test. Gill hit a splendid half-century in the pink-ball warm-up game. Plus Rishabh Pant missed out on inclusion in the first Test despite scoring an excellent 103 not out off 73 balls in the same Sydney match.
Australia to provide a formidable challenge
While India will have to play much of the Test series without the visionary talents of Virat Kohli, it looks like Australia will have to do without David Warner. This is because Warner picked up a muscle strain during the one-day internationals, and it’s widely expected that he’ll miss the first two tests.
However, there will still be Steve Smith on hand to frustrate the Indian bowling attack. Smith has a great record for playing home Tests against India that have included four centuries in four matches. Despite this, it’s worth noting that Smith hasn’t played a Test match since January, and it remains to be seen how fit he’ll be for a hostile Indian bowling attack.
Not that India will have it easy. This is because fearsome Australian bowlers like Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will ensure that India’s openers’ first impressions of Adelaide are anything but pleasant.