After so much that happened last week, finally the cricket carnival is all set to begin for this year’s long Australian summer. This year’s Australian traditional summer, which will have the 2015 World Cup is all set to get kick started at the Adelaide Oval which will be hosting the first Test match between Australia and India which starts on 9 December 2014 i.e. in two days time. The Border-Gavaskar trophy which was scheduled to start on December 4 at Brisbane has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
The Indians who were completely destroyed during their last trip down under will look to gain momentum early on in the series and carry that throughout the series. On the other hand, Aussies are coming out from a huge mental trauma which they suffered due to the sudden death of teammate Philip Hughes, who was in-line to replace Michael Clarke for the first test. The hosts will have their task cut out ahead of the test and will look to pounce on the opposition.
Australia almost have their playing XI ready on the table. The only concern for them will be the availability of skipper Michael Clarke. There is no further development on Clarke’s back injury but vice-captain and the stand-in skipper in the absence of Clarke, Brad Haddin has expressed confidence over Clarke playing the first test. If Clarke is ruled out, Shaun Marsh will replace him in the playing XI.
They will expect David Warner to provide the kind of starts which he is doing for a year now and will rely on the middle order to capitalize on the platform set by Warner. In the absence of Clarke, the Aussies will make Shaun Marsh bat at 3 with Shane Watson coming out at 4. Steve Smith has hit the purple patch at the right time and he will look to cash in against the Indian bowlers. Presence of Mitchell Marsh provides stability to the squad that will have three pacers and a lone spinner in Nathan Lyon. Australia will go in with their successful pace bowling trio of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.
India, on the other hand have their own selection issues. Skipper MS Dhoni flew into the squad a couple of days back and still a huge question mark remains over his availability for the first test. As it stands, Dhoni will be behind the stumps for the first test. India will go into the test with five bowlers as their four bowler theory is taking a hit overseas. In that case, in all likelihood, Karn Sharma, who performed well in warm up matches, will make his test debut for India ahead of Jadeja. With Adelaide known to support the spinners a bit, Ashwin might feature alongside Karn in a bowling attack that comprise of three pacers and two spinners. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to miss the first test as there are few news coming out that he is recovering from an ankle injury. So, India are set to go in with Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Varun Aaron as their pacers. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan will open the innings in the first test. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli will look to perform well after a failure in England.
It won’t be a surprise if Shikhar Dhawan is dropped and Rohit Sharma comes in for him with Ajinkya Rahane opening the innings alongside Murali Vijay.
Pitch Report: Adelaide Oval is one of the rarest pitches in Australia that offers assistance to the batsmen rather than the bowlers. Spinners might come into play on the fourth and fifth day of the test.
Weather Report: The weather is expected to be sunny on Tuesday and in the second day, some thunder storms are expected. The rest of the days are expected to be sunny.
Team News: Michael Clarke is fully fit for Australia, while Bhuveshwar Kumar and Dhoni, who are recovering from an ankle injury and thumb injury respectively, are ruled out of the first Test.
Possible Playing XI:
India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Varun Aaron.
Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.