India will look to figure out its playing eleven as the Test squad gets into the groove by taking on Australia ‘A’ in a three-day warm-up game at Drummoyne Oval from Sunday.
In batting, Mayank Agarwal is set to open the innings but there is a question mark over his partner, with the tussle now between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill. The other option is KL Rahul, who has been in rampaging form in white-ball cricket, but last played a Test match in September 2019.
Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant will fight for the wicketkeeper’s slot. For Saha, who injured both his hamstrings during IPL 2020, it will be a test to show his fitness after getting back at the nets recently. Pant has been India’s first choice in overseas Tests, but was dropped for the limited overs series.
So, he will have to deliver the goods to seal the keeper’s slot. With skipper Virat Kohli going on paternity leave after the opening Test and the injured Rohit Sharma uncertain to play, the onus will be on Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari to show the way.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the opening T20I, is expected to play the practice match as he looks to get into the Test mode. While Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will share the new ball in the Tests, the third pacer’s spot will be up for grabs and Mohammed Siraj will be keen to seal it.
Umesh Yadav, with an experience of 46 Tests, is also an option. Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of the next two T20I matches after suffering concussion and it remains to be seen if he is fit for the Tests. Ravichandran Ashwin’s form will be key if Jadeja is unavailable and it will also open the door for chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. For Australia, the spotlight will be on young William Pucovski as he looks to grab the opener’s slot following an injury to David Warner.