India captain Virat Kohli and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine pose with the Border-Gavaskar trophy at Adelaide on Wednesday. @ Getty Images
India captain Virat Kohli and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine pose with the Border-Gavaskar trophy at Adelaide on Wednesday. @ Getty Images

The much-anticipated four-match Test series between India and Australia kickstarts with the first Test beginning on Thursday at Adelaide. India, the No. 1 Test side, have been tipped as favourites to end their 70-year wait with money riding on captain Virat Kohli, who’s eight shy of reaching 1000 Test runs in Australia, a feat recorded only by three Indian cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.

India announced their 12-man squad for the series opener on Wednesday with Bhuvneshwar Kumar the key omission as the think tank opted to go with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. In the batting department, Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari will be engaged in a shootout for the No. 6 spot with Ravichandran Ashwin the only specialist spinner.

ALSO READ: Rohit Sharma or Hanuma Vihari? Shootout for No. 6 spot

Since the beginning of 2014-15, India have won 26 out of their 46 Tests en route to becoming the No. 1 side. During this period, they have been fuelled by 11 of their 15 wins at home. However, the only piece missing in the puzzle is India’s record in Australia, South Africa and England where they recorded just one win on each of the tours this year.

ALSO READ: Only the present can prevent Virat Kohli’s India from making history

Australia are still recuperating from the disastrous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town this year which has spilled over to the field. Their win/loss ratio this year in Tests is their worst in a calendar year this century having won just five matches out of 44. However, Tim Paine and Co can take some faith from their performances Down Under where they have won 20 and lost only two Tests since 2013.

ALSO READ: No Australian team is vulnerable at home: Virat Kohli

While India will aim to have a crack at a historic series win, Australia will be out to prove that they have moved on from the ills the ball-tampering scandal has had on their cricket. A cracker of a contest awaits at Adelaide!

What: India vs Australia, 1st Test

Where: Adelaide Oval

When: December 6 (Thursday)

Where to watch: Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD at 5.30am IST

You can also follow the match LIVE on CricketCountry.

India

India suffered a major blow when young Prithvi Shaw, who was zeroed in for opening batting, twisted his ankle during a training session. Shaw’s injury could result in KL Rahul opening the batting alongside Murali Vijay, who brought up his century in spectacular fashion during the only warm-up match. Vijay tonked five boundaries, including two sixes off part-timer Jake Carter to go from 74 to 100 in six balls.

WATCH: Prithvi Shaw injures left ankle, carried off SCG outfield

Cheteshwar Pujara will occupy the No. 3 spot, while Kohli will come at his usual No. 4. Vihari might just have the edge over Rohit given his contribution to the bowling department. On debut in England, after smashing a half-century, Vihari followed it up with three wickets.

Probable XI

1. Murali Vijay, 2. KL Rahul, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (captain), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Hanuma Vihari, 7. Rishabh Pant, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Jasprit Bumrah

Australia

Australia on Wednesday dropped the under-performing Mitchell Marsh and confirmed uncapped Victoria batsman Marcus Harris will make his debut, slotting him in as an opening along with Aaron Finch. Marsh made way for Peter Handscomb, who will play his first Test since April. Usman Khawaja returns to the side and will bat at No. 3. Australia’s bowling attack consists of the Ashes-winning quartet of pacers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and offspinner Nathan Lyon.

Probable XI

1 Marcus Harris, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Shaun Marsh, 5 Travis Head, 6 Peter Handscomb, 7 Tim Paine (capt/wk), 8 Josh Hazlewood, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Mitchell Starc

Head-to-head

India have a 21-13 record against Australia at home. India have won the last three of their five Tests, while Australia have lost four of their last five matches.

Statistics

Kohli is eight runs short of reaching 1000 Test runs

Nathan Lyon has dismissed Kohli five times in Tests – the most by any bowler along with James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Quotes

“I personally don’t think any Australian side is vulnerable at home. You cannot take any side for granted. Whatever happened, the skill level is still there. However much you talk or behave, it’s your skill that counts. They still have the skill to dominate at home. We’re not taking anything for granted.” — Virat Kohli