Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha - pick your India XI for first Test

What team combination will India go with for the first Test? ESPNcricinfo Ltd

As India travel from Sydney to Adelaide, a few selection questions will be on top of their minds. The middle-order batsmen - Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari - and the two fast bowlers - Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami - select themselves, but the other five positions are open with equally reasonable arguments for the various options available.


Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw are the incumbents, but India didn't get a single significant partnership at the top the last time India played a series, in New Zealand. The outsider is Shubman Gill, who will be making his Test debut should he play. All three have batted positively in the warm-ups even though Shaw managed just one decent knock in four innings. The last time they batted, Agarwal and Gill both looked good for hundreds, but the SCG pitch had eased out significantly by then.


At least for the first Test, the middle order is sealed. Rishabh Pant is India's incumbent wicketkeeper and No. 7 as India have preferred him to Wriddhiman Saha in series outside Asia. The logic for Saha's inclusion in home Tests is to provide the spinners with a more accomplished gloveman. Pant has been India's wicketkeeper on their last three tours outside Asia: England, Australia and New Zealand. On the last of those tours, Saha was fit and available. However, Pant has been losing favour gradually this year. It will be interesting to see if that extends to Tests too.

Last two bowlers

Bumrah and Shami are sure to play, leaving the final two bowling slots open. R Ashwin has started India's last three tours outside Asia and should be the favourite, except there is a fair chance India might not play a spinner. Spin has averaged 49 runs per wicket in day-night Tests in Australia, and that is despite a superlative average of 25 for the home spinner Nathan Lyon. So it won't be unreasonable if India choose not to play one. If India do play, Ravindra Jadeja is out of the equation, and Ashwin's competition is left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, who took a five-for the last time he played in Australia, prompting the coach to say he was the No. 1 choice in overseas Tests.

Umesh Yadav has to be the favourite as the third fast bowler: he looked good in the first tour game, has been the No. 4 behind Ishant Sharma, Bumrah and Shami for a long time now and has the experience of bowling in a day-night Test before. The other options are Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, both yet to play a Test.