Smith likely to bat three in Pune as Australia consider three spinners


Steve Smith has suggested he is likely to bat at number three in Australia's first Test against India, in order to break up the likely trio of left-handers in the tourists' top order.

In addition to vice-captain David Warner, Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh are each expected to be named in Australia's XI on Thursday.

On the eve of the series-opener in Pune, skipper Smith revealed he was prepared to move up from his usual position of four, to counter the threat of India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who will naturally take the ball away from left-handed batsmen.

"It depends on what make-up of team we go with. [There's] probably a good chance I'll be at three if we do have the three left-handers, just to break it up a bit," said Smith.

The spin-friendly nature of the wicket at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium means Australia are giving thought to playing just one frontline seamer.

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were anticipated to both play in Pune, but it remains to be seen whether that will prove the case.

"I haven't really seen a wicket like that before a Test match, so I think it is going to take a lot of spin and potentially some up-and-down movement for the fast bowlers as well," said Smith.

"It looks a bit different to the T20 wickets we have played on here, where the ball generally goes through, they are really nice wickets.

"Yesterday [Tuesday] it looked pretty dry, quite sort of crusty. I think it will take spin from ball one. There are a couple of divots out of the wicket as well.

"We've obviously got a few options there. We've thrown up everyone, I think everyone is capable of doing a job and everyone is different so it's a big decision as to whether we play one fast bowler, or two quicks and a spin bowling all-rounder, or three straight spinners.

"We have got people here to cover all bases. The selectors and I had a conversation yesterday, we will have another look today and from there make a decision which way to go."