Mitch Marsh’s axing from Australia’s XI to take on India at Adelaide Oval has left the hosts with their most inexperienced top 7 since 1979.
Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head and Tim Paine have played a total of 101 Tests between them.
That represents Australia’s least-experienced top 7 in 429 Tests since World Series Cricket.
The batsmen have a combined 9,209 Test runs, the lowest by any Australian lineup since November 1979.
Australia's top seven for the first Test of Finch, Harris, Khawaja, S Marsh, Handscomb, Head & Paine have played a total of 101 Tests between them – this makes it Australia's least experienced top seven in their 429 Tests since World Series Cricket. #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/soIyrUCYR1
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) December 5, 2018
The named AUS XI have a combined 9,209 Test runs, the lowest by any AUS lineup since November 1979
— Swamp (@sirswampthing) December 5, 2018
India win vital toss and bat
The inexperienced batting lineup might have Paine thankful he lost the toss, with India electing to bat first.
The mercury is forecast to soar to 39C on Thursday for the beginning of the four-Test series, heightening the significance of Kohli winning the toss.
Adelaide’s drop-in pitches are known as the most bowler-friendly in the nation and curator Damian Hough has promised a wicket with a generous grass covering.
With Australia set to line up without a fast-bowling all-rounder after dropping Mitch Marsh in favour of middle-order batsman Handscomb, Paine acknowledged on the eve of the Test that he was wary of putting his bowlers to work in the heat.
“That probably sways it to batting, doesn’t it?,” Paine said.
“You want to bat on days when it’s 40-odd degrees.
“There’s always a good coverage of grass here in Adelaide and it offers a bit with the new ball, but there’s also a lot of runs to be had out there.
“Normally Australian teams like to bat first.
“But we’ll have another look at it in the morning before we make that final call.”
India will also line up without a supplementary quick, although not by choice having lost Hardik Pandya for the series to a back injury.
Kohli said his frontline pacemen had no option but to embrace the challenge of enduring long spells in tough conditions.
“The workload on the guys who will play in the absence of the allrounder will be high but it’s something that has already been discussed, that they should look forward to that and not think of that as a burden and something that’s going to be tough,” he said.
“Because at international level, things are going to be tough.
“We’ll just have to embrace that and make something out of the resources we have at present.”
Handscomb is set to bat at No.5 for Australia while opener Harris will become Australia’s 456th male Test cricketer.
AUSTRALIA XI: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine (c) (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
INDIA XI: KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma