Vodafone Test Series v India
Saha gets nod over Pant as India name XI
India give gloves to Wriddhiman Saha over Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw holds on to the opening spot while Umesh Yadav wins the third seamer spot
Sam Ferris in Adelaide
16 December 2020, 06:55 PM AEST
India have named their team for the first Vodafone Test match in Adelaide, with Virat Kohli leading an imposing XI.
There are two changes from India's last Test, which was against New Zealand in March, with Wriddhiman Saha taking the gloves off Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin replacing Ravindra Jadeja.
The first Test will be Kohli's only appearance in the four-Test campaign after he announced he would be leaving to return home to be with his wife for the birth of his first child.
India XI: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Prithvi Shaw has retained his place as opener despite modest returns in the two tour matches, while there was no place for exciting 21-year-old Shubman Gill, who looks set to fill Kohli's shoes when he departs.
Cheteshwar Pujara will be a prize wicket for the hosts after he amassed 521 runs and three centuries two summers ago as India won their first Test series on Australian soil.
He will be joined by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari in the middle order, ahead of Saha at No.7.
Saha's return to the Test XI comes at the expense of Pant, who struck a blistering 73-ball century in the day-night tour match at the SCG.
Pant was also in the thick of the action in the 2018-19 series as he was captured sharing good-natured banter with Australia captain Tim Paine out in the middle.
Saha will be keeping to pace pair Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who took 21 and 16 wickets respectively in Australia two summers ago.
Umesh Yadav rounds out the pace attack, with Ashwin and Vahari the spinning options.
Shaw's technique and talent has resulted in multiple comparisons with India's greatest batsman Sachin Tendulkar, especially after the teenager became the youngest Indian to make a Test century since the cricket legend.
"Prithvi has performed at Test level but he will be playing in Australia for the first time, so I think it's very exciting to see his progress," Kohli said.
"Mayank came through last time we toured here and he batted brilliantly without any baggage, that's what you expect from the younger guys.
"They've got no baggage from the past, they just go out there and express themselves ... play that brand of fearless cricket."
Ashwin will hope to improve on his record in Australia, which stands at 27 wickets at 48 from seven Tests.
India won the Adelaide Test in 2018 but on that was a day Test. The first match of this series will be the first time the two nations have competed in a day-night Test, and while both sides are unbeaten playing with the pink ball, Australia have played seven twilight Tests to India's one.
- with AAP
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT