Steven Smith's Australia will play a tour match in Mumbai © Getty Images
Steven Smith’s Australia will play a tour match in Mumbai © Getty Images

The touring Australian side will lock horns with India A in a three-day tour match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. This game will be the only opportunity for Australia to get their eye in, as they will be heading to Pune post this clash for the first Test starting February 23. Australia arrived in Mumbai on Monday night, and have got a couple of days to adjust to the local conditions which are going to be slightly different to those at the venue for the opening Test. The tour match at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) is likely to witness key clashes between David Warner and India A’s best bowler Shahbaz Nadeem, the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant having a go against Josh Hazlewood among the other battles. Let us take a look:

David Warner vs Shahbaz Nadeem: This is a battle between the two star performers from both the teams. Warner has been at the forefront of Australia’s batting line-up, garnering a lot of runs in the Australian summer. One of the areas where Warner concentrated on was on facing deliveries with less bounce during Australia’s training camp, held at the ICC Cricket Academy. How much Warner has shifted his gears to tackle deliveries with turn and low bounce will be seen in this game, especially against Nadeem, the most successful spinner on the Indian domestic circuit at present.  FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia 1st Test at Pune

Steven Smith vs Mohammad Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav: While Smith will also be looking to spend quality time against the likes of Nadeem and Kuldeep, the Australian captain will want to face the ace fast bowler who has been very successful in the Indian domestic season. The Indian seamers have been breathing fire of late and Smith would not mind having a look at the fast bowlers in the India A side, before he goes on to tackle the senior bowlers. Smith has the knowledge of conditions and wickets, which will come in handy for the first two matches that Australia are playing on this tour.

Rishabh Pant vs Josh Hazlewood: The swashbuckling batsman has been waiting for his chance for far too long. Pant made his India debut in the final T20I against England but did not get an opportunity to bat for long. He is presented with yet another opportunity to take giant strides and push for his case, especially playing at the venue where he had scored a rapid half-century against England in one of the warm-up matches. However, a bowler as accurate and disciplined as Josh Hazlewood can cause a lot of damage, and Pant’s approach against the Australian bowler will be keenly followed by the Indians.

Priyank Kirit Panchal vs Mitchell Starc: The leader of the Australian bowling attack is pitted against the batsman who has scored heaps of runs this Indian season. Panchal has been a lynchpin of every side that he has played so far, and Starc will not mind having a duel with one of the most successful Indian batsman (in the domestic season) on the block early on in the contest. Starc’s aim will not only be to find rhythm, but some swing as well which will make him the most dangerous bowler in either side if that happens.

Shreyas Iyer vs Steve O’Keefe: Iyer has been the talk of the town for far too long, but has failed to barge into the national side. However, Iyer will also take this opportunity to make his presence felt. Iyer is set to bat in the middle-order, which means he will face Steve O’Keefe, whose preparations for this India tour have kept him in the news since a very long time. Playing at his home city, Iyer will not shy away from having a crack at the Australian spinner, which in turn will only test O’Keefe’s mettle early on.

Squads:

India A squad for tour match vs Australia in Mumbai: Hardik Pandya (c), Akhil Herwadkar, Priyank Kirit Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Ankit Bawne, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Krishnappa Gowtham, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Ashok Dinda, Mohammed Siraj, Rahul Singh, Baba Indrajith.

Australia squad for India tour 2016-17: Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Stephen O’Keefe, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson.