Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, 1st Day-Night Test preview: India gears up for title defence
First Published Dec 16, 2020, 1:07 PM IST
India would be engaged in a four-Test series for the Border Gavaskar Trophy from Thursday, with the Day-Night Test in Adelaide. India are the defending champions, having won it during their last visit, in 2018-19, thus becoming the first Asian team to do so in Australia.
As India get set for an assignment in the longest format of the game, they would be locking horns with Australia in the first of the four-Test series, for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, in the first day-night Test, at the Adelaide Oval, on Thursday. India, who are the defending champions, would aim to get off to a winning start, while this would also be their first-ever day-night Test, Down Under.
India won the title during their last visit, in 2018-19. While they became the first Asian team to win a Test series, Down Under, it would be a monumental task this term, owing to the return of Steve Smith, who had missed out on the last series, due to his suspension for a ball-tampering incident. Meanwhile, we present the preview for this exciting encounter.
Current form: As far as India's form in the Tests is concerned, they have been ruthless at home. However, as for their last outing, which happened to be in New Zealand, it was a tough one, as they succumbed to a 0-2 whitewash. Meanwhile, for Australia, their last series was against New Zealand at home, which the hosts won 3-0, as they would be reeling and would want to continue with the same momentum.
Squad composition: Now, for the squad, there is a contrasting difference. India are surprisingly moving in with a batting-heavy team, with as many as 13 batsmen in the side, across departments. Although Australia is known to be good for bowlers, especially pacers, they possess nine bowlers, while six happen to be pacers. For Australia, they have a balanced one in all departments, having 12 batsmen and bowlers across.
Injury concerns: As for the injury list, India would already miss the services of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma, while they don't have any fresh injury concerns, besides Ravindra Jadeja's concussion. However, Australia are in for a headache, having already missed out on opener David Warner for the opening Test. Meanwhile, among other considerations, they have Will Pucovski (concussion), Mitchell Starc (personal leave), Cameron Green (concussion) and Moises Henriques (hamstring). Also, Steve Smith tweaked his back on Tuesday, as it would be interesting to see if he is fit enough to make it to the side.
Head-to-head: Considering the head-on clashes for both the sides so far, they have played 98 matches, with Australia winning 42 and India winning 28. In Australia, they have played 48 games, with the hosts winning 29 and the visitors winning seven. In Adelaide, of the 12 events, India have won just a couple, while Australia have won seven.
Weather and pitch report: As far as the weather is concerned, the temperature is likely to be around 24 degrees throughout the five days. Meanwhile, the pitch is reckoned to be the best batting track in the country, as it assists the batsmen for the opening three days, while it becomes spin-friendly in the final two days.
India (confirmed): Virat Kohli (c), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia: Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade (wk), Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.
Batsmen: Labuschagne, Smith, Kohli, Pujara- The batting order starts with opener Labuschagne, while Smith, Kohli and Pujara are the favourites to consolidate on the top and the middle. Meanwhile, Smith and Kohli's reliability make them the captain and vice-captain, respectively.
Wicketkeeper: Saha- He is the Test specialist for India in the format, and was decent in the warm-ups, making him likely to score big.
All-rounders: Green, Ashwin, Vihari- Green was prolific in the warm-up game, especially with the ball and is likely to continue with the same spree, while Ashwin can dominate with his spin at the latter stage of the match, besides being a handy batsman, if needed. Also, Vihari was decent with his pace in the warm-ups, making him an interesting pick in this XI.
Bowlers: Cummins, Bumrah, Shami- As for the bowling, the selected pacers have the ability to churn out wickets on any given track.
Players to watch out
Mayank: The opening batsman has been quite shaky in the limited-overs, as he has a task at hand to prove himself in the longest format, where he likes to play.
Smith: The right-hander has been far from his best so far. However, the Tests gives him a fresh opportunity to prove his worth, as he loves to play in the format, especially in Australia.
Bumrah: The Indian pacer might be the best bowler in the limited-overs. However, he has a task at hand in the longest one and would relish the opportunity to bowl on Australian tracks, starting in Adelaide.
Date and day: December 17, 2020 (Thursday)
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Time: 9:30 AM IST
Where to watch (TV): Sony Six, Ten 1 and Ten 3 (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Sony LIV
How many players do you prefer playing with?