ADELAIDE – India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat in scorching hot conditions at the opening Test against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday.
It was a good toss to win on a day when temperatures are forecast to hit 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), with the fielding side bearing the brunt.
After naming a 12-man team on Wednesday, India opted to play hard-hitting batter Rohit Sharma, with all-rounder Hanuma Vihari missing out.
“He bats well with the tail, good with the short ball and can take on the bowling,” said Kohli, explaining the decision.
“Every tour is an opportunity, coming here is a difficult challenge, not taking anything for granted,” he added.
Australia have left out vice-captain and all-rounder Mitch Marsh in preference for Peter Handscomb, leaving them with just four recognised bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
They must now toil in the searing heat, with Travis Head potentially offering some occasional off-spin if needed.
“We would have batted as well, some damp spots and we will look to make the best of that,” said skipper Tim Paine.
“We think three pacers and Nathan will do the job, they are pretty fresh and we have an all-round attack.”
Marcus Harris makes his debut and will open Australia's innings alongside Aaron Finch.
India, the world's top-ranked nation, have never won a Test series in Australia.
At the time of writing, India was at 6-129 (Over:50.1)
The teams are:
Australia - Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (capt), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc
India - Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Umpires: Nigel Llong (ENG), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)
Agence France-Presse (AFP)