India will take on Australia in the first cricket Test here today in what promises to be a thrilling four-match series.
The Indian team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's leadership will look to re-establish their invincibility at home — which has largely been dented by their 1-2 Test series defeat against England last year. Australia, on the other hand, will be happy to emulate England. While someone like Sachin Tendulkar would like to face the challenges thrown by Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson head on, the likes of Phil Hughes, Matthew Wade, Ed Cowan and David Warner will aim at successfully negotiating the spin threat of Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha.
One specialist spinner for the Aussies
Australia have kept only one specialist spinner in Nathan Lyon in their line-up. The visitors will have a three-pronged pace attack led by Siddle while Moises Henriques beat Glenn Maxwell to a 'Baggy Green' mainly because of his ability to bowl seam-u.
For the Indians Murali Vijay looks to be the frontrunner to partner Virender Sehwag to open the match. Delhi opener Shikhar Dhawan has had a good season and played a lot alongside Sehwag for his state and zonal side. Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli are automatic choices in the middle-order as they take the slots from No. 3 to 5. The choice for the slot in the middle-order will be between Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane. Jadeja's all-round abilities provide him with a clear edge, having Rahane in the side would mean that India have a lot of depth in their batting to counter the pace and swing of the Aussie quicks.
Ishant to bear pace burden
Harbhajan is one bowler whose success ratio has been pretty high against Australians. The 22-yard strip at the Chepauk has been a slow turner over the years but fast bowlers can expect to get reverse swing during the later stages.
Ashok Dinda is a bit one-dimensional as he only hits the deck hard while Bhuvneshwar Kumar lacks pace and has not bowled much with the old white ball. This means Ishant Sharma will be carrying the burden of the pace attack. For the visitors, it will be a test of their new-look batting attack which neither has Ricky Ponting nor Mike Hussey. The middle-order is vulnerable where skipper Clarke will hold key. Similarly with Warner, who will be expected to give the visitors blazing start with his aggressive strokeplay.PTI