Adelaide: India selectors are expected to choose between specialist batsman Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Hanuma Vihari for the series-opening test against Australia in Adelaide starting Thursday.
The pair, named in a 12-man roster released by the Indian board on Wednesday, will battle for the number six slot vacated by injured fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
Rohit played the last of his 25 tests against South Africa in January but has experience in Australian conditions, having toured with the side in 2014-15.
One-test spin bowling all-rounder Vihari made his debut against England at The Oval in September, scoring 56 in the first innings and taking 3-37 with the ball in the second.
Selectors have opted for Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in a strong pace attack for Adelaide Oval, as Virat Kohli's side bids to become the first Indian team to claim a series win Down Under.
Top order batsman Murali Vijay, who was dropped following the second test against England at Lord's in August, was also included.
Vijay will partner Lokesh Rahul at the top of the order, with young opener Prithvi Shaw ruled out from the test with an ankle injury.
Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed earlier on Thursday that fast bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh had been omitted and the hosts will go into the match with six specialist batsmen.
The allrounder has been sent back to Shield cricket to find some form with Tim Paine expecting him to be needed later in the series
Batsmen Travis Head and Peter Handscomb were preferred to Marsh, piling more pressure on the bowlers, while Marcus Harris will make his debut as opener.
Handscomb edged him out after two half-centuries last week and a century for Victoria the week before that.
Debutant Harris will open alongside Aaron Finch, with Khawaja, whose brother was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly framing a colleague with a fake terror plot, coming in at first drop.
Australia XI: Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (capt & wk), Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc
India (XII): Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami
Pitch and conditions
The surface looked dry the day before the match and there is hot weather predicted for the first day, then warm, sunny conditions throughout so spin could be a factor.
Stats and Trivia
December 6-10, 2018
Start time 1100 local (0030 GMT)