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Visitors look to regain focus, MS Dhoni to arrive on December 5

Team India will look to regain their focus ahead of the Test series starting on December 9, when they take on a Cricket Australia President’s XI side in a two-day tour game starting here on Thursday.

The match will be played at the Gliderol Stadium in Glenelg (sub-urban Adelaide), venue of India’s first tour-game last week.

The second tour-game had been cancelled owing to the demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes after he was hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game last Tuesday. He had died in Sydney two days later, sparking an emotional outpouring throughout the sports fraternity, both in Australia and abroad. His funeral took place in his home-town Macksville on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay attended the funeral on the Indian team’s behalf. They were accompanied by team director Ravi Shastri, Coach Duncan Fletcher and manager Arshad Ayub. All three players are expected to be available for the match starting tomorrow as it is the only practice available before the four-match Test series gets underway next week.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, having recovered from a hand injury, will join the team in Adelaide on Friday evening. He will, of course, miss the tour game altogether. It remains to be seen if he will be available for the first Test. If he does, as anticipated, Kohli will have to wait a little longer to lead India in the longer format.

Owing to Hughes’ demise and keeping funeral arrangements in mind, the Test series had been nearly completely rescheduled. Brisbane will no longer host the first Test, instead hosting the second starting December 17. The Adelaide Oval, Hughes’ adopted home ground for the last two seasons, will host the first Test starting December 9.

The third Test remains unchanged and will start on Boxing Day, December 26, at Melbourne. Meanwhile the fourth Test at Sydney was pushed back by three days, now starting on January 6 instead of January 3. It has also meant slight changes in the ODI tri-series schedule, also comprising England.

India will now play their opening game of the tri-series in Melbourne on January 18 against Australia, instead of playing the same game on January 16 earlier on.

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