India v Australia - First Test preview

Last Updated: 21/02/13 12:09pm

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Michael Clarke: Will lead Australia out in Chennai on Friday

Michael Clarke: Will lead Australia out in Chennai on Friday

Sky Bet

Australia captain Michael Clarke has challenged his fellow batsmen to exploit favourable batting conditions when the first Test against India gets under way in Chennai.

While Clarke concedes that playing on the sub-continent is difficult in terms of getting in, he wants players who get past the 30s to make sure they make a significant contribution.

Clarke said: "Like all players it's always tough at the start of your innings. What I know about players like Sachin (Tendulkar) is once they get in, especially in conditions they're so accustomed to, it's really difficult to get them out.

"So the key is if you get any sort of momentum in the subcontinent you have to run with it for as long as you possibly can. One of the things I spoke to the boys the other day about is that it's more crucial here if you get a start to go on and make a big score.

"So if you make a 50, a 60, a 70, and get out, you're more accountable there than the guy who made zero because it is a really difficult place to start, especially against spin or walking in against the reverse-swinging ball.

"So the guys who get a start, it's up to them to take the team forward and keep running with that momentum. The same if we get a wicket.

"We know it's hard for the new batter to start, so we need to be on our game as soon as that new batter comes in and run with the momentum for as long as possible."

New South Wales all-rounder Moises Henriques is set to make his Test debut in the first Test, while explosive opening batsman David Warner will play through the pain of a broken thumb.

For India, Harbhajan Singh will play his 100th Test match when he takes to the field at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Harbhajan could be one of three spinners named in the India XI, with both Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin likely to feature.

Virender Sehwag will have a new opening partner after Gautam Gambhir was axed from the squad, with Murali Vijay the leading contender to join him at the top of the order.

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