Australia vs India 1st Test teams: Steve Smith is fit to play for Australia, India name their XI
- Steve Smith practiced in the nets without discomfort
- Tim Paine hinted at Joe Burns' participation
- Cameron Green in line for Test debut if he passes fit
- India name their playing XI leaving Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant out
Steve Smith particpated in the practice nets without discomfort and is in line to play the first Test. (Getty Images)
Australia kept their cards close to the chest even as India announced their playing XI for the first Vodafone Test in Adelaide starting from Thursday, December 17.
The good news for Australia, though, came from Steve Smith. After missing out Tuesday’s full-squad session after his back tightened up, the 31-year-old underwent physiotherapy on his ‘lower back soreness’. He left the ground gingerly on Tuesday evening, but Wednesday brought in a palpable change.
Smith was noticeably looser this afternoon receiving sidearm throws from assistant coach Matthew Mott and medium pace all-rounder Moises Henriques. Smith batted for about 50 minutes and gave a nod to national selector Trevor Hohns, who was a keen spectator at the back of the Adelaide nets. That was the strongest indication from the batsman that he’s in line to play against his favourite side.
Australia’s captain Tim Paine spoke about continuity in the press conference, which was believed to be a nod to Joe Burns. He also gave a thumbs-up for Matthew Wade’s fighting abilities. He said: “He's certainly an option to open the batting. No doubt about that. I think we've got a number of guys who are willing to open the batting. That says a lot about our group, not just Wadey. We know he's as tough as nails and he'll do a good job, no matter where he bats.”
Paine also hinted at Cameron Green’s debut. “Green’s super impressive, I've played against him and seen him score hundreds against Tasmania before. From what I've seen of him playing against him and the last couple of weeks being around him he's made for Test cricket.”
India, on the other hand, went ahead and announced their playing XI. Prithvi Shaw is preferred to Shubman Gill, while Wriddhiman Saha gets the nod over Rishabh Pant. Shaw came under pressure with two poor outings in the practice matches, where Gill impressed. However, Shaw was the incumbent opener and India chose to back him.
Ravichandran Ashwin keeps his place in the playing XI, as Ravindra Jadeja is ruled out due to a concussion. Yadav was retained as India’s third seamer, replacing the injured Ishant Sharma. This is his fourth Australia tour and he has also impressed in the only warm-up he played with figures of 3/48 and 1/14.
Australia (from): Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India (Playing XI): Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah