BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Virat Kohli returned to lead India and had an immediate impact in winning the toss in the tour-opening Twenty20 international and sending the beleaguered Australians in to bat.
India is using the three-game T20 series to fine tune for the bigger prize starting next month when it chases its first ever test series victory in Australia.
Kohli, who skipped India's last T20 series against the West Indies, is putting the hosts under immediate pressure by forcing them to bat first at the Gabba, which traditionally hosts Australia's test series opener but isn't on the list of venues for the longer format in this series.
India has won its last seven T20 series, while Australia is coming off back-to-back series losses to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and at home against South Africa.
The Australians are missing frontline bowlers, with pacemen Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hamzlewood and offspinner Nathan Lyon preparing for the upcoming four-match test series which kicks off Dec. 6 in Adelaide.
Opening batsman Aaron Finch will be leading the Australians in the absence of both Steve Smith and David Warner, who are sitting out because of 12-month bans imposed in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March that rocked the game in Australia.
That turmoil hasn't been restricted to the field, with a number of high-ranking staff also gone from the game's national administration since March including coach Darren Lehmann, high-performance manager Pat Howard, chief executive James Sutherland and chairman David Peever.
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Chris Lynn, D'Arcy Short, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ben McDermott, Alex Carey, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports