Adelaide Test: It's Hanuma Vihari v Rohit Sharma for No. 6 spot!
Indian team management faces tricky situation to choose between impressive Hanuma and in-form Sharma for the No. 6 spot ahead of opening Test v Australia in Adelaide
It is quite rare for Indian cricketers to walk to the team hotel after a training session without any hustle and bustle. Such is the accessibility and the convenience of the Adelaide Oval that the visitors are in a state of comfort.
If there was a sense of discomfort, it came in the form of a spicy practice pitch at the Adelaide Oval nets where Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah gave the Indian batsmen a torrid time. Such was the zip of the surface that the enthusiastic pacers overstepped the line a few times to thrive for that extra yard of pace.
Apart from the No. 6 spot, the Indian think tank seems to have decided on their final combination. Before arriving here, it looked certain that Hanuma Vihari would be given the first bite of the cherry.
The Andhra batsman had batted ahead of Rohit in the practice match in the first innings and was promoted to No. 3 in the second innings. But the extra bounce in the Adelaide pitch may just have brought Rohit back into the mix.
Rohit and Vihari were the only two that took to the nets during an optional practice session on Monday. The pair was closely observed by assistant coach Sanjay Bangar. Rohit is itching to get back into the playing XI and was even seen practising with the red-ball before the T20I series a couple of weeks ago.
It's a tricky situation that the Indian team management is confronted with ahead of the opening Test here tomorrow. Should they leave out Vihari, who scored two half centuries on India A's tour of New Zealand recently? He also impressed in his debut innings in England where he scored a fighting 56 at The Oval.
Add to that he has been part of a thorough preparation for five days in Sydney while Rohit was spanking the white-ball in the T20 series. The fact that Rohit has not played any red-ball cricket for over a year is sure to play on the team management's mind. But then, there is also a theory that he is a good player of pace as was evident during his fiery net session yesterday.
Vihari deserves the first crack. He is an accomplished player of spin bowling and Nathan Lyon is sure to test the Indian middle order. However, the inexperience of Rishabh Pant at No. 7 might just tilt the balance in Rohit's favour. But to be fair, it is time, the team stop going with the gut feel and picks the player that has done everything asked of him.
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