Former England cricketer Isa Guha feels that Indian team looks more settled than Australia heading into the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, a day-night contest at Adelaide on December 17.
The Australian side is still searching for its ideal opening combination and David Warner is also injured. Guha, a veteran of 113 internationals for England, feels that out-of-form Joe Burns will not be opening alongside Marcus Harris in the opening Test.
“India look to have a more settled unit compared to Australia and their bowlers have a chance to prey on that,” Guha, who will be commentating alongside Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Mark Waugh for Fox Sports, told PTI on Tuesday.
“I don’t see Australia selecting Joe Burns and we have to see whether its Marcus Harris-Matthew Wade coming out to open. As far as India is concerned, what I saw during the day/night game, I found Shubman Gill coping better than Prithvi Shaw,” she said.
David Warner’s absence in the first Test and Ishant Sharma missing the four-match series will affect both teams, but Guha felt that once the left-handed opener is back in the mix, India would be on the backfoot.
“India will be underdogs when Warner comes back. I think it will be a fascinating contest. Also Rohit will be back for India in the last two games and their batting will also get stronger,” she said.
She also opined that Rishabh Pant’s superior batting skills will get preference over Wriddhiman Saha’s better glovework.
“Purely, in terms of fighting fire with fire, I think Rishabh will be selected. He is a batter who can take on the bowlers and take the game away. While Ravi (Shastri) has said that Saha is the best keeper, purely from batting point of view, Pant looks likely to be selected.”
Had she been the captain, she would start off with senior pro Ravichandran Ashwin in the first Test but agreed that left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav should be tried in Melbourne and Sydney, where it will be conducive to his style of bowling.
“I will go with the experience of Ashwin in the first Test. Kuldeep can be played at Sydney, where he did well the last time.”
With Australia allowing crowds inside the stadium, Guha is happy that fans would be able to enjoy live action in a marquee series. “Credit to Australian authorities for getting crowd back in the stadium. It is wonderful really. You know how much India appreciated the crowd support during their T20 victory,” she said. “At the Adelaide, with sun setting behind Sir Donald Bradman Stand creates the best vantage point.”