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India aim to start Test campaign on positive note (Preview)

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Adelaide, Dec 5: Aiming to win their maiden Test series in Australia, India want to start the campaign on a positive note, when they face the hosts in the opening match of the four match series here on Thursday.

World No. 1 India are coming on the back of some good performances at home, thrashing West Indies but were shocked by hosts Australia in the recently concluded Twenty20 International series while fifth ranked Australia had a torrid year due to controversies and poor outings.

India's overseas record is not that impressive as they lost a Test series in South Africa at the back end of last year and fell to England in a five-Test series away from home in the middle of 2018.

The visitors have also lost promising opener Prithvi Shaw as he suffered injury during the warm up game. So India have to come up with something different this time to put up a some challenge.

Skipper Virat Kohli also said that this time around the team is more experienced and players are fit as compared to the previous tours.

The batting department is comprised of some quality batsmen like Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, Cheteshar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane who on their day can turn the game in their favour. 

In the warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI, Indian batsmen were on the mark as all have scored runs.

India have also changed the five bowler strategy as Virat Kohli named only four bowlers for the upcoming match. The pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah will be complemented by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Australia, on the other hand, dropped Mitchell Marsh and handed Marcus Harris his debut in the upcoming match.

The conditions here are best suited for fast bowlers and the hosts are well prepared for it with the likes of Nathon Lyon, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.

The batting department also seemed settled with Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb. But the hosts will definitely miss the experienced players — Steve Smith, David Warner — who are serving bans for ball-tampering.

With India having struggled — specially in batting — during their previous tours to England and South Africa, skipper Kohli wants his boys to adapt quickly to the conditions. 

"We are not looking to start tentatively. We all want to express ourselves and go out there and be positive. We want to bring our A-game in the first game and capitalise as the series goes on.

"We don't want to wait to figure out what is happening with the conditions or the pitch. We need to read it really early and alter our game, which we couldn't do in the last two tours," Kohli was quoted as saying by the official website of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday.

"When we have done it, we have won games. We have to do it for longer periods to win a series, which is our goal. We want to be a consistent side and for that, we have to adapt quickly than in the past."

The Indian captain also dismissed the idea that Australia will be easier opponents due to lack of experience in their current squad.

"I personally don't think any Australian side is vulnerable at home. We cannot take any side for granted and more so Australia. Regardless of all the things that have gone by, their skill levels are still there. We'll have to be at our best to get the results that we want here," Kohli said.

"As a side, we're looking to correct the mistakes from the last two tours. The focus is completely on our side."

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.

Australia: Tim Paine (captain & wk), Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood.

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