ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and sent his team in to bat on day one of the first test against India in Adelaide on Tuesday.
The opening match of the four-test series was originally scheduled in Brisbane but was delayed and switched to Adelaide Oval following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes to give players time to mourn for their former team mate.
Clarke, who overcame a hamstring injury to be in the side, was pleased to bat first on a traditionally batsman-friendly wicket.
“The wicket looks fantastic, the ground is in amazing condition,” he told ABC radio.
Clarke took a leading role in supporting Hughes’s family during the player’s two-day fight for life in hospital, and at the funeral in Macksville, New South Wales last week.
He said his team were looking forward to playing again after the game was all but shut down in Australia for nearly two weeks out of respect for Hughes.
”The boys are doing as well as they possibly can,“ he said. ”I think everyone’s excited to play some cricket, to be honest.
“Everyone’s focused, we know we’ve got a really important job to do as soon as we walk onto the field.”
Batsman Virat Kohli will lead India for the first time in a test match with regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni sidelined with a thumb injury.
Legspinner Karn Sharma will make his test debut for the visitors in an attack featuring pacemen Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron.
On a day of tributes to Hughes, the number 408 was painted on the turf in front of the Sir Donald Bradman Pavilion, recognising the batsman as the 408th player to represent Australia in a test match.
People lined up by a heap of flowers, cards and cricket memorabilia left by the southern gate of the stadium to sign a book with their respects for Hughes.
Hughes was named an honorary “13th man” in Australia’s squad, with his former team mates to wear black armbands.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford