Virat Kohli © Getty Images
Virat Kohli © Getty Images

Nov 24, 2014

India begin their tour of Australia with the first of two two-day practice matches at Adelaide against Cricket Australia XI. After a disappointing 3-1 loss to England, the visitors will be hoping for a better result against Australia, and will look to this practice match to get there. Virat Kohli will be leading India in the absence of MS Dhoni.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli will hold the inexperienced batting line-up together, despite the fact that both men did poorly on India’s last Test assignment in England. Ajinkya Rahane had done well on that tour, and will be making his first appearance in whites in Australia. Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Naman Ojha are vying for a spot in the middle, and this is a crucial test for them. Wriddhiman Saha or Ojha are likely to keep wickets.

As for the bowling attack, Umesh Yadav was in excellent form in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, and would be crucial on this tour as the wickets would aid his kind of bowling. Varun Aaron must stay fit, as his pace will make him a key member of India’s attack. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma will also have an important outing.

Through this, it would be interesting to see what role Bhuvneshwar Kumar plays. While he was brilliant in England, his slow-medium swing bowling may not be very effective on the fast surfaces in Australia. However, given his abilities with the bat, he could find a spot in the first Test at Brisbane.

Catch live blog of the match here