Anurag Dasgupta ∙ Feb 5 2023, 7:45 AM

BGT 2023: How will Australia lineup for the Nagpur Test?

image-ldr1mu07Australia posing with the trophy after beating SA [Associated Press]

The much anticipated Border-Gavaskar series between India and Australia is just around the corner. The two teams share a great history, and their contests have generally been high-octane, so expect another fiery clash when the Test series commences on February 9 in Nagpur.

However, before the series has even commenced, the visitors have been jolted by injuries to key players, which could hamper their game-plan. Josh Hazlewood is the latest casualty as he joins Starc and Green on the medical table. So, with injuries casting doubt, let us look at the possible playing XI for the Aussies in the first Test.


This is actually an easy choice. No points for guessing, Usman Khawaja and David Warner will open the innings for the visitors. There is Matt Renshaw waiting in the dugout, but the duo of Khawaja and Warner have done well over the last year or so, and Australia won't be pondering too much when it comes to the top two batters. 

Middle order

Number three, four, and five are again easy picks. Marnus Labuschagne, the world's number one Test batter, who is on his maiden India tour will bat at number three. The recent recipient of the Allan Border Medal, Steve Smith will come in at number four, and the ever so aggressive Travis Head will follow Smith. 

Australia have one of the best middle order in Test cricket, and it is largely due to the number of runs churned out by Labuschagne, Smith and Head. India have a tough task on their hands.

Now the big question. Who should bat at number six? On any other day Cameron Green would have perfectly slotted in at that position, but his finger injury has put Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald in a tricky situation. 

McDonald has stated that Green might play as a pure batter, but with three more Tests to go after Nagpur, should Australia take this risk of playing Cam Green? They have Peter Handscomb waiting in the wings, and there is a great chance that the right-handed batter might get a nod when the playing XI is announced.


The undisputed starter at this position. Alex Carey has made this position his very own. A career that started with a lot of promise, finally came full circle when the dashing batter smashed a terrific ton against South Africa.


This is where Australia have some thinking to do. Do they go with three quicks and just a lone spinner in Nathan Lyon? Or go with two quicks and two spinners? Most likely the Nagpur pitch will offer assistance to the spinners, so don't be surprised if we see Australia playing two spinners.

Ashton Agar can partner Nathan Lyon in the spin department. Agar, a left-arm orthodox can trouble the Indian batters with his arm ball. And Lyon generally has a good track record against India.

That leaves us with two pace bowling options. With Mitch Starc ruled out of the first Test and Josh Hazlewood suffering from an injury, expect Scott Boland to accompany Pat Cummins in the pace bowling department.

Note: Australia are likely to go with four bowlers, but the likes of Travis Head, and Steve Smith can also chip in with the ball if needed.

Possible playing XI

Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey (WK), Ashton Agar, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins (C), Scott Boland.

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