Ind vs Aus: Pace, bounce and carry await India at Gabba
Brisbane: One of the great aspects of playing cricket in Australia is that no two Test venues are the same. The weather, size of the stadiums, outfields and most importantly, the pitch behave so differently.
Apart from Perth, no other pitch suits the Australia style of play than Brisbane. It offers bounce, pace, carry and the new ball always swings. It also is the best place to bat once the ball loses its shine after 30 overs. The last time the hosts lost a game here was back in 1988 when Viv Richards' West Indies beat Allan Border's Australians by nine wickets.
Hazelwood likely to play
Given the extra bounce in the wicket, Australia is certain to hand Josh Hazelwood a debut at the expense of Peter Siddle. Given his form in the nets, over the past couple of days, he is likely to be a handful. The Indian batsmen will have their work cut out knowing edges will carry comfortably to slips.
The last time India played on a wicket with pace and carry, they found themselves at eight for four — in Manchester earlier this year. The man who dug them out of that hole then — MS Dhoni — has had prolong batting sessions leading into the Test but is yet to practice his 'keeping.
The Indian skipper is likely to play along with his Chennai Super Kings teammate Ravi Ashwin. The off-spinner spent considerable amount of time, standing at first slip, a strong hint that he will replace leg-spinner Karn Sharma.
Must score big
Another man under a bit of pressure, Rohit Sharma, spent an age discussing his forward prod with Team Director Ravi Shastri. Rohit's failure to reach the pitch of the ball had led to his demise in both innings. The Mumbai boy will be keen to play a big innings with only one fifty in the last 12 innings.
Brisbane will separate the men from the boys. It will also reward Indian bowlers if they are consistent enough. The Gabba might be a fortress for the Australians but if India can bat well on this pitch, the assistance in the pitch and through the air could well present the visitors the best opportunity for India to take 20 wickets.