The series provides Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his team an opportunity to make history by becoming the first side to win a Test series Down Under.
After the T20 series ended in a 1-1 draw, India and Australia will lock horns in a four-match Test series starting with the first Test in Adelaide from December 6.
In their last two overseas tours this year, India lost by a 2-1 margin to South Africa and a 4-1 margin to England. While the team's performances aren’t necessarily reflected by those numbers yet the players know they cannot afford a slip-up against an Australian side still reeling from the ball tampering scandal that rocked them earlier this year.
Australia will still be without Steve Smith and David Warner who were handed one year bans for their roles in the ball tampering incident. The squad lacks the batting firepower that both Smith and Warner provide and recently lost 1-0 in a Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.
The series provides Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his team an opportunity to create history by becoming the first side to win a Test series Down Under. India’s past record in Australia isn’t very encouraging with the team managing just five wins in the last 44 Test matches. Moreover, India have only managed to draw two series in the past 70 years, under Sunil Gavaskar in 1980-81 and Saurav Ganguly in 2003-04.
India's preparations for the 1st Test hit a snag when youngster Prithvi Shaw was forced to pull out after twisting his ankle in a warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI. Shaw marked his Test debut with a century against the West Indies in October and looked in good form notching up 66 off 69 balls in the practice game before twisting his ankle.
Shaw’s injury has opened the door for a return to the squad for Murali Vijay who grabbed the opportunity with both hands scoring a century in the second innings against Cricket Australia XI. As things stand, Vijay will once again open the innings with KL Rahul after being dropped from the squad midway through the England tour.
India have announced their 12-member squad for the 1st Test and look set to go into the match with four bowlers. Ishant Sharma will lead the pace attack along with Mohamed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah with Ravichandran Ashwin filing in as the lone spinner.
Australia have declared their playing XI for the 1st Test and have also opted to go with just four bowlers in the form of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummings, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. The only surprise from the Australian line-up is the omission of all-rounder Mitch Marsh due to lack of consistency.
India (12-member squad): Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia (Playing XI): Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (C & wk), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc.
Players to watch out for:
The Indian skipper notched up 692 runs during his last tour Down Under. He has also been in top form this year finishing as the highest scorer during both overseas tours to South Africa and England. Kohli also has a special connection with Adelaide, a ground where he he scored his first Test ton and has three hundreds from just two Tests.
Another player who has a special relationship with Adelaide is Nathan Lyon. He gave his career a much needed shot in the arm on this very ground with a man-of-the-match performance against India in 2014 picking up his first ever ten-wicket haul. Since then he has gone on to establish himself as one of the greatest off-spinners of his time and will be looking to add to that growing reputation when he takes the field for the 1st Test.
Betting Odds (Bet 365)
Other popular bets on the match can be checked on Oddschecker.
Where to watch:The first Test match, which is being played at Adelaide Oval, is scheduled to begin at 5.30 AM IST. The match will be beamed live on Sony Pictures Sports Network and will also be streamed live on SonyLiv app.