ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat in the first test against Australia at a sun-drenched Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
Batting-friendly conditions are expected with the temperature in Adelaide expected to hit 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) on the opening day of the Australian test summer.
"Looks like a pretty nice hard wicket with a good coverage of grass on it," Kohli said. "Runs on the board will be handy."
India selected hard-hitting batsman Rohit Sharma, who was favored at No. 6 over allrounder Hanuma Vihari. Emerging 19-year-old batsman Prithvi Shaw was ruled out after sustaining a left ankle injury in a warm-up match against the Cricket Australia XI last week in Sydney.
World No.1 India has never won a test series in Australia, but comes into the four-match contest with optimism against a weakened and embattled home side.
Australia will be without former captain Steve Smith, star opener David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft after the trio were suspended for their part in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in March.
Opener Marcus Harris will make his test debut and recalled batsman Peter Handscomb will come in at No. 5. Vice-captain Mitchell Marsh was dropped after a poor series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
"It was difficult (to leave out allrounder Marsh) but we have three quicks and Nathan (Lyon) who can do the job and they are really fresh," Australia captain Tim Paine said.
The Adelaide test has reverted to a traditional red ball contest for the first time since 2014. The Board of Control for Cricket in India refused Cricket Australia's request for the series opener to be played as a day-night match and with a pink ball.
Australia: Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
India: K.L. Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara , Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena, Sri Lanka, and Nigel Llong, England.
TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney, New Zealand. Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle, Sri Lanka.
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