With India and Australia set to face off for the first Test of their series this week, this time on Dream Team we’re picking the best current Test XI from the two teams. Australia and India are the top two teams in the World Test Championship rankings, and so we’re looking to pick a team that can beat the rest of the world in a one-off Test if played today. Which country will have more players in the XI? What’s the best combination? Our panelists, Raunak Kapoor, Andrew McGlashan, Shamya Dasgupta and Shashank Kishore have a crack at it.
The openers: Warner… and who?
Neither team has had set openers, with both units trying different combinations over the last 18 months. David Warner has not had a regular partner, and the India openers, Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma and Prithvi Shaw have shown sparks of brilliance but still have a lot to prove. Will the panelists go with one of the these choices, or will they shoehorn in a makeshift opener from all the brilliant middle-order options that both teams have?
Plenty of pace options, but no space for all
Six quicks stand out. Australia have Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. India have Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. But not all can make it. Who misses out? Which combination provides the most variety? Three fast bowlers or four?
What does the middle order look like?
Virat Kohli and Steven Smith are two of Test cricket’s greats. Cheteshwar Pujara can really get stuck in. Marnus Labuschagne has been the most prolific Test batsman since his debut. At first glance, all four should make it to the XI but it also means Nos. 3 to 6 are full up, leaving no space for a wicketkeeper and allrounder. Will the panelists sacrifice one of them? Or will they find a solution to play all four while also making a perfectly balanced XI?