India vs Australia: Visiting team's strengths and weaknesses
Analysis of India squad before the four-test series against Australia, which starts in Adelaide on Tuesday:
Mumbai: Analysis of India squad before the four-test series against Australia, which starts in Adelaide on Tuesday:
India will have the flamboyant Shikhar Dhawan and the relatively calm Murali Vijay to see off the new ball against Australia`s fiery pace attack.
Dhawan failed to score a 50 in six innings in England before losing his place at the top of the order and will need to be more compact with his technique on the bouncy Australian pitches.
Cheteshwar Pujara did not have a great 2014 in tests and will have to do more to justify the comparisons the enthusiastic Indian media has drawn between him and the retired Rahul Dravid, who he replaced at number three.
Virat Kohli impressed during India`s 4-0 drubbing the last time they toured Australia and the visitors will depend heavily on the 26-year-old right-hander if they are to fare any better this time around.
Ajinkya Rahane will bat at number five and the stylish right-hander, whose technique and temperament are his biggest assets, will have an ideal opportunity to seal his spot in the batting line-up.
Rohit Sharma`s stunning return in the one day series against Sri Lanka after an injury lay-off might just tip the scales in his favour against Suresh Raina for the last available batting spot if India opt to play with four specialist bowlers.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been ruled out of the first test due to an injury, was India`s second highest run-scorer in England and the team will need him the carry the same form into Australia if the top order is exposed early.
India lack a genuine seam-bowling all-rounder and paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar`s gritty show with the bat in England will give them hopes of filling that vital cog in their team.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will fight for the spinning all-rounder`s position if India decide to field just one slow bowler on the pace-friendly pitches in Australia.
Ishant Sharma is expected to spearhead India`s inexperienced pace attack with Kumar the only other bowler certain to find a spot in the starting team.
While Sharma will be expected to hit the deck hard on the helpful Australia pitches, Kumar is adept at swinging the ball both ways.
The third seamer`s spot will be a toss-up between Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, with Aaron catching the eye with his pace and control in the first warm-up match in Australia.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja has been preferred over off-spinner Ashwin in the past when India play abroad and field one slow bowler in their team.
The performance in the warm-up games leading up to the test series might prove crucial for the spinners with both almost equally matched in batting.
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma, untried in tests, is the other slow option and might get a look in if things go horribly wrong with India`s attack.