India will kick start the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 against Australia with a Pink-Ball Test in Adelaide. This series will be important for both the teams in regard to ICC rankings and the World Test Championship.
Match Timings: Dec 17, 9:30 AM IST
The much-awaited Test clash between India and Australia start with India’s first day-night Test in overseas. Team India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2018-19 with a historic 2-1 triumph under Virat Kohli but things have changed. Australia are a changed Test side and last year, they grabbed the number one spot in Test Rankings. Under Tim Paine, Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 and defeated New Zealand in the home series.
The Pink-Ball test will be India’s second Test under lights after the Kolkata Test against Bangladesh. India recently appeared in the warm-up game against Australia A with pink-ball to prepare for the series and they did pretty well. Vihari and Pant both got hundred, following half-centuries from Mayank and Shubhman Gill. Virat Kohli will be available for the Adelaide Test only and India would see this game as the series-defining Test. If India manages to win the first Test, they can take the winning confidence into the remainder of the series.
Prithvi Shaw will play ahead of Shubhman Gill and Shaw will now have a huge responsibility in the opening slot. Pujara, Kohli, and Rahane will continue to bat at their genuine positions. India will go with Hanuma Vihari instead of an extra seamer or spinner. The debate between Saha and Pant is crucial and team management has decided to pick Saha over Pant. In bowling attack, Kohli would go with just one spinner and no doubt, Ashwin will be there ahead of Kuldeep Yadav. Umesh Yadav will join as the third seamer along with Bumrah and Shami. With this lineup, India will surely miss the fifth bowler. With pink-ball, it will be a tough task for the Indian seamers to adapt to the conditions. Hanuman Vihari might be tried as the 5th bowling option. India’s recent success in Australia relied on Pujara who was the top-scorer in the 2018-19 series. Kohli had also scored a ton in both innings in Adelaide in his debut match (2014) as captain. Kohli also scored a hundred in India’s only pink-ball Test at home. The task in the opening Test is not easy this time but India can push Australia under Kohli.
Meanwhile, Australia has been reformed after the comeback of Warner and Smith. Labuschagne was a great discovery from the Ashes. They are entering as the favourites. Like Vaughn said earlier as the Aussies can win 4-0 if India loses the first Test. The Pink-Ball Test will decide the outcome of the series. In the last two series, whoever won the Test at Adelaide, won the series in the end. Australia has never lost a D/N test and with the attack of Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood, chances for India to shine are pretty low. Nathan Lyon has great numbers against India and later the match will progress, he will be a big threat for India in 2nd innings.
Warner will not available for this match. The opening slot might be changed. Langer can even try Wade at the top, considering a similar XI as suggested by Shane Warne. Marcus Harris would be tried in the opening slot with either Burns or Wade. Cameroon Green will take the Test cap for Australia. Moises Henriques has also been included in the team but he might not be picked in the final XI.
Adelaide’s surface is a fine batting track but pacers will take advantage with the pink-ball. Later the match progress, spinners will be in command. Batting would be a bit tougher in 4th innings. The final session will be crucial against the pace.
Virat Kohli (C), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Prithvi Shaw, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, R. Ashwin
Matthew Wade, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
WTC 2019-21 – M: 9, Runs: 627, Avg: 52.25
Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2018-19 -M: 4, Runs: 521, Avg: 74.43
WTC 2019-21 – M: 9, Runs: 1028, Avg: 73.42
WTC 2019-21 – M: 9, Wickets: 49, Avg: 21.44