In three days, Australia will walk inside Adelaide Oval for its first home Test Match of 2018/19.
They will go up against India in the first installment of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series.
Australia is the defending series champions having last met in 2014/15.
But hard work needs to be done from scratch across four to five days on the field.
For now, let’s pick the best XI that Head Coach Justin Langer should select this Thursday.
Opening Batsman Spots
Marcus Harris is one high pick to play as an Opening Batsman having scored a ton of runs for Victoria.
Harris scored a big 250 a couple of weeks back in a Shield game.
He does bring out a Justin Langer style approach which is very classic where he’s effective with his shot selection as long as he stays still and not reaching out with plenty of time in the crease.
And the recent results Harris showed to the selectors successfully gave him a Baggy Green cap.
To complement Harris in the other opening spot is his state team-mate, Aaron Finch.
Yes, some people complain about Finch batting at first-drop last week during a first-class game v Queensland.
But Finch scored a 50 before during his Test debut two months ago in the UAE.
So Finch’s very good with the flexibility and variety provided in this Australian set-up.
As long as this opening pair is patient & not hesitant then Finch & Harris will frustrate the Indians all day.
Usman Khawaja may have suffered a knee injury during the second test v Pakistan a while ago.
But Khawaja has since undergone surgery and worked very hard to make himself fit for Thursday.
Khawaja even played for Queensland last week v Victoria.
Yes, he did play as an opener during the two-match Pakistan Series in the UAE.
But he’s more of a suitable No.3 having proved evident in piling up runs at home.
Let’s move on to No.4 now and Peter Handscomb will fill-in in this spot.
Handscomb should’ve come in the UAE instead of Marnus Labuschagne after a poor 2017/18 season.
But he responded beautifully with destructive knocks in the One-Day Cup and the Sheffield Shield consistently.
Again, another classic top/middle-order player with an unorthodox approach.
Plus Handscomb’s a good player against spin that Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja needs to watch out for this month.
So Australia should be grateful to have a young gun back in the mix that defines a statement of intent when Handscomb first entered Test Cricket two years ago.
You can blame the Marsh brothers for their lackluster showing two months ago.
But these two still stand a chance at home having scored a ton of runs v England last summer.
So Shaun Marsh will come in at five ahead of his brother Mitchell.
Yes, Mitch is the vice-captain of this side while Shaun has plenty of experience on his plate.
However, it’s not a guarantee that these two will stay in this test side for so long.
If this out of form results continue, then the Marsh brothers may not be back for a while.
Tim Paine will usually take the gloves as well as the captain’s armband at seven.
Paine does a lot of sublime work behind the stumps such as his stumping, catching, etc.
Plus he can remain patient and pick out classic shots whenever he likes which justified his occasional 50s.
Pat Cummins is back fit and firing at eight.
Ahead of him, Mitchell Starc comes in at nine followed by Nathan Lyon at ten.
And rounding out Australia’s XI will be Josh Hazlewood at eleven.
The bowlers are very experienced and ready to go.
Grateful to still have M.Marsh, Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins, and Lyon in the mix from last summer.
So no loss of weight or weakness spotted there.
However, the batsmen group looks light without Steve Smith and David Warner.
Though, Australia does have a stack of talent lined up.
Marcus Harris is a classic red-ball player who proved himself through hard work with the bat for his state.
Aaron Finch steps up to Test level where it’s been a steady start.
But sure Finch will put add another dimension in adding his first Test 100 sooner with the help of Harris.
Usman Khawaja, Marsh brothers & Tim Paine still experienced as was from the 2017-18 Ashes Tour.
And at last, the returning Peter Handscomb.
He knows the home conditions very well plus some inside knowledge against the Indian Team.
That’s why you can’t ignore Handscomb when he’s an excellent batsman in all areas, both pace & spin as shown when for his state side, Victoria.
Yes, the New South Wales domination of players in this Australian Test squad may be out for now.
But the increased intake of Victorians will certainly help Australia take a fair chance of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Though, the journey begins from Thursday where you catch the 1st Test LIVE on Free to Air via Channel 7 & Pay TV on FOX Cricket from 10 AM AEDT.