1. Rohit Sharma: Had he been fit for the first two tests, the opening conundrum wouldn’t have existed in the first place. He, alongside Agarwal had cemented their place at the top of the order by hammering tons of runs in the home season last year. He amassed 529 runs against the visiting South Africans, which included two hundreds and a double hundred. However, Rohit is expected to be fit for the third and fourth test, and he is expected to walk right back to his favoured batting number.
2. Prithvi Shaw: He was supposed to be the next big thing in Indian cricket ever since he struck a sublime 134 against the West Indies in 2018, but injuries and poor form have been his biggest impediments thus far. He made a comeback to the national fold earlier this year in New Zealand, but could only manage 98 runs in the four innings. Despite meagre returns in the recently concluded IPL and the two practice matches against Australia A, he is still the frontrunner to partner Mayank in absence of Rohit.
3. Shubhman Gill: Prithvi Shaw’s deputy at the successful 2018 U19 World Cup campaign, Gill is another player who is expected to be India’s batting mainstay in the years to come. Though he is yet to make his debut in the longest format, he did display his class in the just concluded second practice match against Australia A with scores of 43 and 65. He’s unlikely to break into the playing eleven for the first test at Adelaide, but might feature in the middle order once skipper Kohli leaves for paternity leave.
4. KL Rahul: Nowhere in the picture for more than a year as far as the test match arena is concerned, Rahul has earned a recall on the back of some stellar performances in IPL. Even though his record in tests is nothing to boast of, he has hundreds in England and Australia, with the latter being his first century in just his second match. He has been in unbelievable form of late, and has been a man of crisis for India. Even though he is unlikely to open this series given the existing competition, he might feature in the middle order if and when the need arises.