Net session to determine Australian XI for series-opening Test against India

Australia vs India Josh Hazlewood plans Virat Kohli

"I feel Australia are still the favourite to win this series", Rahane told reporters on Tuesday.

"They've played a lot at home since we played them last in Australia". I know England and South Africa were tougher. Among others, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's prodigious swing, Umesh Yadav's consistent pace and Ishant Sharma's extra bounce make them real assets. We've had a focus in recent years of trying to develop both the quality of our spin bowlers and the quality of our batsmen playing spin bowling.

"I don't think they're getting enough overs out of him".

Kohli has fought fire with fire in previous battles with Australia, rowing over all manner of subjects and essentially alleging a year ago that Australia were systematically cheating when it came to the Decision Review System (DRS).

"With a player of that calibre you need a few options".

But sledging the marauding batsman does not figure in those options. It's up to the individual - if it's a bowler or a fielder. "I really want to take my bowling to the next level in this team", he said.

Speaking of team combination, India made a decision to include Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma in their 12-man squad for the first Test with R Ashwin being the lone spinner. For me, Adelaide has always been special, because I scored my first Test ton here. "If we can get on top of them early, hopefully that will filter through the rest of the Test".

Australia are now ranked fifth, tied on 102 rating points with New Zealand, while India have 116.

"Barring the one at Lord's (where India lost by an innings and 159 runs) most of the matches that we have lost they actually have got themselves in a winning position and squandered it. So we'll be looking to replicate that and test it against one of the best batting orders in the world".

For the first time, perhaps, India have come to Australia with their bowlers in collective good form.

"He's looked unsafe. With the angles he creates he can be pretty risky against the left-handers as well and he swings the ball away from them, a bit like Ntini does". The rules are pretty clear now - it's good to have it in black and white.

And as for movement, it is seaming deliveries rather than swing which has troubled Kohli most away from home in 2018, according to CricViz. Every game you go into you are 50-50.

"He's the key for me".

With Smith and David Warner serving bans for ball-tampering, Paine's team have had little to celebrate and even less inclination to indulge in chest-thumping aggression.

The number five slot will be a toss-up between Peter Handscomb, who was dropped for the Pakistan tests, and two-test lefthander Travis Head, whose high regard from selectors outstrips his humble numbers in Shield cricket.

But the best is saved for last as he comes charging down the wicket to the spinners, hammering huge on-drives over the bowler's head with an audible wallop.

He added that the fitness of their three-pronged pace attack, also consisting of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, will probably determine the course of this series.



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