XtraTime Web Desk: The Indian team management is likely to give a chance to either its specialist batsman Rohit Sharma or all-rounder Hanuma Vihari in the opening match of the four-match Test series against Australia which will begin from Thursday. Both the players are in India’s 12 men squad and will battle it out for the sixth slot of the team which is vacant in the absence of injured Hardik Pandya. Though Vihari has a slight edge as he is an all-rounder.
Hitman last played a test match against South Africa in the month of January this year but he knows the Australian conditions because he was there in the team which toured here last time in the 2014-15 season.
One-test spin bowling all-rounder Vihari made his debut against England at The Oval in September, scoring 56 in the first innings and taking 3-37 with the ball in the second.
Selectors have opted for Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in a strong pace attack for Adelaide Oval, as Virat Kohli’s side bids to become the first Indian team to claim a series win Down Under.
Top order batsman Murali Vijay, who was dropped following the second test against England at Lord’s in August, was also included.
Vijay will partner Lokesh Rahul at the top of the order, with young opener Prithvi Shaw ruled out from the test with an ankle injury.
Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed earlier on Thursday that fast bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh had been omitted and the hosts will go into the match with six specialist batsmen.
As it is forecasted that it will be a warm day tomorrow, the India skipper said that it would be a blow for the team that Pandya isn’t there and hoped that the three pacers will carry the extra burden.
“It obviously has an impact … Every side would like to have a fast-bowling all-rounder,” he told reporters at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
“Again, the workload on the guys will play (a part) in the absence of the all-rounder … but that’s something that’s already been discussed and they should look forward, not think of it as a brden or think things are tough.” Team – Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.