India have kept faith with young opening batsman Prithvi Shaw for the opening day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide, which starts on Thursday, the country’s cricket board said.
The 21-year-old has scored a hundred and two fifties in his four Tests so far, but managed only 62 runs in four innings in warmup games in Australia ahead of the four-Test series.
Shaw’s place looked to be under threat after he got out to some rash shots, while Shubman Gill pushed his claim for a test debut with scores of 43 and 65 in the final tune-up game in Sydney.
However, the board confirmed the line-up on Wednesday with Shaw keeping his place and partnering regular opener Mayank Agarwal, with Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli and deputy Ajinkya Rahane to follow in the batting order.
“Prithvi has performed at the Test level but he will be playing in Australia for the first time. It’s very exciting to see his progress,” Kohli said on the eve of the match.
Hanuma Vihari will be the number six batsman while Wriddhiman Saha will don the wicketkeeping gloves for the touring side.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been chosen as the lone specialist spinner for India, who will go with the frontline pace trio of Jaspit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.
Kohli will fly home after the Adelaide Test for the birth of his first child, leaving Rahane in charge for the three remaining matches.
The India captain backed Rahane to do a ‘tremendous job’ in his absence.
“He seems to be very composed and knows the strengths of our team,” he told reporters. “We already know the template we play with. We’re absolutely on the same page.”
“I feel like this is his time to really step up and perform strongly as an individual, and then as a captain as well he’ll do a great job.”
India team: Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.