Preview: An Indian team brimming with confidence will aim to finally shed the poor travellers’ tag when it takes on a circumspect Australia in what is being perceived as the tourists’ best opportunity to win a Test series Down Under in 70 years. While the narrative remained same during the earlier tours of South Africa (1-2) and England (1-4), Virat Kohli and his men will like to walk the talk as India’s tough cycle of away assignment ends with this four-Test series beginning at the Adelaide Oval. India’s past Test record in Australia is quite abysmal. In 44 Tests on Australian soil, they have only managed five wins thus far. In 70 years and over 11 tours, only two drawn series, under Sunil Gavaskar in 1980-81 and with Sourav Ganguly in charge in 2003-04 is more a reflection of temperament of touring sides over the years rather than quality.
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India’s opening issues
Opening issues continued to plague India in England as well. After only 26 runs in two Tests, Vijay was sent home. While Rahul did scored 299 runs in five Tests there, 149 of those came in the final innings of the series at the Oval. His previous nine innings on tour yielded only 150 runs and 37 was his highest score, again in the first innings at the same ground. Shikhar Dhawan, who is not part of the current Test squad, scored 162 runs in four Tests. Prithvi Shaw’s ankle injury has opened doors for the Rahul-Vijay combination.
No support for skipper Virat Kohli
India have faced two key issues, and the first has to do with the batting line-up not firing enough to support skipper Kohli. While Kohli scored 286 runs in three Tests in South Africa, the next highest cumulative total was 119 by Hardik Pandya and he scored 93 of those in one innings at Cape Town. Cheteshwar Pujara only managed 100 runs in three Tests, while Murali Vijay (102 runs in three Tests) and KL Rahul (30 runs in two Tests) came a cropper.
India’s 12-man squad for first Test
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
ODI deputy Rohit Sharma has been included in the 12-member team while Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav are the notable absentees. With both Rohit and Hanuma Vihari making the 12, it is clear that the Indians wish to go into the game relying on a heavy batting line-up. Kuldeep Yadav too has missed out as R Ashwin is the only spinner in the team.
India’s abysmal record Down Under
India’s past Test record in Australia is quite abysmal. In 44 Tests on Australian soil, they have only managed five wins thus far. In 70 years and over 11 tours, only two drawn series, under Sunil Gavaskar in 1980-81 and with Sourav Ganguly in charge in 2003-04 is more a reflection of temperament of touring sides over the years rather than quality.
Hello and welcome
A very warm welcome to the live blog of the first day of the first Test between Australia and India which will be played at the Adelaide Oval. This is the first Test of the four-match series between the two teams. India have never won a Test series Down Under and will look to end that particular hoodoo.
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