India didn’t fall for the most talked-about swap, deciding to stick with Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order to partner Mayank Agarwal instead of handing a Test cap to Shubman Gill.
India also chose to persist with offie Ashwin, shelving the idea of an all-pace line-up, and opted for the more skilled Wriddhiman Saha as wicketkeeper.
Whether this advance announcement will set a trend for the series is unknown, since the team’s real challenges may begin after this Test with ‘bedrock’ Virat Kohli leaving for home. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side but it will be hard to replace both Kohli’s constant leadership presence and ability as batsman.
Kohli, however, gave the impression that India’s plans for the series had largely been set, and Rahane merely had to execute those plans.
“The vision remains to put in great performances and compete. The way we’ve played has been a collective effort… a cultural effort. It’s the whole team that’s bought into it, so we already know the template we have to play with,” he said.
“Jinks has done a tremendous job as captain in the practice games. He is composed and knows the strength of our team. I’m sure he’ll do a tremendous job in my absence. This is his time to step up and perform strongly as an individual and captain,” Kohli said.