The first Test of the four-match series between India and Australia is all set to be played from February 9. The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur will host the five-day game. With a high-intensity clash to take place at the venue, the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) officials are sweating hard to prepare a pitch that matches the standard and intensity of the game. However, the curators have to be careful too as India would not want to provide Australia with a seaming or swinging pitch. 

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There has been so much talk going around about the kind of wicket that will be produced for the first Test. While the Australians, through Steve Smith have already expressed their dissent for rank turners, the Indian cricket team would hope for favourable conditions for them. Several reports have claimed that the VCA pitch curators have been directed to produce a wicket that turns from Day 1. 

A report in the Indian Express claimed that India wants a pitch that heavily favours them as the team eyes the vacant spot in the World Test Championship Final. “We want to maximise our advantage and prepare turners. Spinners are our biggest strength and we should give them the best conditions to bowl and get wickets,” a team source was quoted saying to the newspaper. 

Meanwhile, India Test Vice-captain KL Rahul also dropped a small hint on the nature of the wicket. As Rahul stated that India are “contemplating playing three spinners” it was clear that Australians will be made to sweat hard on a turning track. "There will be a temptation to play three spinners. We are playing in India, where pitches are going to spin. But it is still early to know what the pitch is going to do exactly," said Rahul in a pre-match press conference.

How has the Nagpur pitch behaved so far?

The Nagpur pitch is no different from a typical subcontinent wicket where batting is easy on the first few days and spinners enjoy an upper hand through the match. The VCA Stadium in Nagpur has hosted six Tests so far, out of which India have won 4, drew 1, and lost 1. The solitary defeat has come against South Africa. 

Meanwhile, in the last test played at the venue, India completely out-batted Sri Lanka as they beat the visitors by an inning and 239 runs. R Ashwin and R Jadeja took eight wickets and five wickets respectively in the match.