| Sachin Tendulkar |
Melbourne: A weak opponent and a familiar pitch is not an ideal preparation before the gruelling series against Australia, but India will have to contend with that when they take on Victoria in their lone pre-Test warm-up game here on Thursday.
The pitch at Junction Oval here is expected to stay low and slow during the three-day practice tie as it has been the case back home.
Besides, Victoria are likely to field a stingless attack and a modest batting but for stand-in captain David Hussey. It will mean poor preparation for Anil Kumbles men ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
India have won just four of the 32 Tests in nearly six decades of visit to the Australian shores and are yet to claim a Test series win here.
India are expected to field their likely Test XI, which means that Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Pankaj Singh and Irfan Pathan may remain on the bench.
It will be interesting to see whether Rahul Dravid comes out to open on Thursday.
Victoria (from): David Hussey (captain), Aiden Blizzard, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Nick Jewell, Michael Klinger, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Robert Quincy, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade, Allan Wise.
India (from): Anil Kumble (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, R.P. Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Pankaj Singh. (PTI)