India XI for 1st Test vs Australia: Shaw, Saha make the cut ahead of Gill, Pant

Written by Abhishek Patil

Team India on Wednesday announced the playing XI for the first Test against Australia which will be played in Adelaide from December 17.

Team India on Wednesday went against their usual trend by announcing their playing XI, a day before the start of the first Test against Australia. The series opener is going to be a day-night Test played with pink balls from December 17.

Virat Kohli will lead the team for this game before he goes back home to be with his pregnant wife Anushka Sharma. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will then take over the reigns for the last 3 matches of the 4-Test series.

Prithvi Shaw has been picked ahead of in-form Shubman Gill as the second opener along with Mayank Agarwal while Wriddhiman Saha has pipped Rishabh Pant to grab the wicketkeeper’s slot.

Shaw’s selection will raise a few eyebrows as he had flopped in 3 of the 4 innings he played in the two warm-up matches, registering scores of 0, 19, 40 and 3.

Gill on the other hand, looked fluent in both innings of the second practice game which was played under lights with pink balls at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin has been picked as the lone spinner ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav while Hanuma Vihari has retained his place in the middle-order thanks to his performance in the second tour match in which he hit a hundred.

Vihari can be the second spinner in the side who can chip in with a few overs if needed. Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav will form the fast-bowling attack.

Team India currently hold the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after their historic 2-1 series win the last time they toured Australia in 2018-19. It was the first time an Indian team registered a Test series win Down Under.

Australia, who are struggling to figure out their opening combination for the 1st Test after David Warner got ruled out, have still not named their playing XI.

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Abhishek Patil