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India vs Australia: Host team's strengths and weaknesses

Sydney: Analysis of Australia squad before the four-test against India, which starts in Adelaide on Tuesday:

TOP ORDER

David Warner will be one of the first names on the team sheet after a brilliant year in which he has scored 1,199 test runs at 74.93.

India will not have forgotten the 69-ball century he scored against them in Perth three years ago, the foundation for his career-best 180.

Chris Rogers has had a less successful time, particularly in the recent 2-0 series defeat against Pakistan, but got back among the runs in state cricket and his growing understanding with Warner has value in itself.

Number three in the order has become a problem for Australia with the most recent incumbents Alex Doolan and Glenn Maxwell joining a string of discards at "first drop".

It was this spot that Phillip Hughes would most likely have filled had he not died when batting to earn a recall.

Shane Watson, who occupied the berth during Australia`s Ashes sweep of England, prefers to play as high up the order as possible and will need to be fitted in somewhere.

Who bats at number four will depend on the hamstring of Michael Clarke with Shaun Marsh ready to step in if the skipper fails to prove his fitness for Adelaide.

MIDDLE ORDER

Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh, in his first two tests, were among Australia`s few success stories in the Pakistan series and are almost certain to bat at numbers five and six.

Smith scored three half centuries in the Emirates and then showed he could play higher up the order by winning Man of the Series honours in the recent one-day triumph over South Africa.

Brad Haddin, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, will retain the wicketkeeping gloves and could captain the side in his 60th test if Clarke is not fit.

Mitchell Johnson, who boasts one century and nine half centuries in tests, adds a little more length to the tail.

ALL ROUNDERS

A real area of strength for Australia.

Mitchell Marsh`s powerful batting and ability to get some serious pace with the ball has earned him the spot as the designated all rounder in the team.

Watson could also lay claim to the tag and has shown a knack for taking wickets at key moments over the years, while Smith started his career as a spinner who could bat and can still bring out his leg spin when required.

SEAM BOWLING

Pace bowling was one of the keys to Australia`s 4-0 humbling of India three years ago and chief selector Rod Marsh boasted there were 10 quicks of sufficient quality to feature in the series.

ICC Cricketer of the Year Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle should get the chance to reprise their successful team effort against England and South Africa.

Uncapped Josh Hazlewood is in the squad for the Adelaide test and first cab on the rank, with left-armer Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile and even Pat Cummins also in the mix if Australia go for a rotation policy.

SPIN BOWLING

It sometimes appears as if offspinner Nathan Lyon is in the squad by default because of the dearth of quality in an area where Australia once boasted such riches.

The 27-year-old knows that 11 wickets at the cost of 66.72 runs apiece in five tests in South Africa and against Pakistan this year is not good enough and will be looking for a great improvement on home soil.

From Zee News

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