Australia axe Marsh as Khawaja returns against India

India vs Australia Cheteshwar Pujara saves India the blushes after top order falls cheaply

India vs Australia Cheteshwar Pujara saves India the blushes after top order falls cheaply

2018 will go down as one of the most hard years for the Australian test team but after tough tours to South Africa and the UAE against Pakistan where they lost both series, they return home now where they are notoriously strong to play India.

Handscomb was dropped 12 months ago after the Adelaide Test, losing his place to Marsh. The hosts are in turmoil, at least as far as their batting is concerned and coach Justin Langer has no qualms in accepting the fact that the Indian team seems to be out for blood. Yes, they will miss Warner and Steve Smith, but that confidence level, the attitude and the approach you expect of an Australian player, an Australian team - the character of the Australian sides against whom I played - that character is not obvious in this Australian team.

"Mitch Marsh probably hadn't been as consistent as he would like or we would like", captain Tim Paine said. There's the opportunity for him to go back and get a Shield game under his belt before the BBL start.

India's past Test record in Australia is quite abysmal.

Archie Schiller will be part of the squad for the Boxing Day Test match against the subcontinent giants that will start on December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Luka Modric wins Ballon d'Or 2018 ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo
It will be the first time since since the 2007 Ballon d'Or , which was won by Kaka, will go to a new recipient. He was named in the Champions League "Team of the Season" and won the UEFA "Midfielder of the Season".

Opening the batting with the likes of Aaron Finch and youngster Marcus Harris is always a risk.

"The wicket over relays few years here has given enough over the game, we've got a lot of confidence in Nathan Lyon bowling a lot of overs if he needs to", Paine said. "They'll also be under great pressure, I think".

The dumping of Mitch Marsh will add an extra burden for Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and spinner Nathan Lyon, who will have to take on more overs in what are forecast to be scorching hot conditions in Adelaide.

India will pick their playing XI for the first Test against Australia from the 12 players which was announced on Wednesday.

Throw in Australia being without Smith and Warner, and it points to India starting as overwhelming favourites. "This time around, we hope we don't disappoint our fans", Rohit said.

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