Boasting a classical technique, his half-century came off only 48 deliveries and featured nine boundaries, including some lovely cover drives.
Shaw, 21, averages 55.83 in his four Tests, while Gill, 21, boasts a first-class average of 69.74. He drew praise from Australian great Allan Border who said he was surprised the boy who grew up having balls thrown to him by hired help on the family farm had yet to make his Test debut.
“He is a serious player. I am surprised that he hasn’t already played. He has looked really good,” Border said on the Fox Cricket commentary.
Gill handled the Australian quicks well but played across the line to a skidding delivery from leg-spinner Mitch Swepson in his first over and was caught at slip approaching tea.
He could be a surprise Test weapon, coming after Dravid said the tourists needed Pujara or a top-order teammate to replicate his feat of 2018-19 if they were to have an “edge” over the host nation.
“Who is going to be our Pujara from last time? I’m saying (that because) Pujara scored 500-plus runs last time – you (are) going to need one of your batsmen (to do that),” Dravid said on a webinar in India.
“Either it is going to be Pujara himself – obviously, it can’t be (Virat) Kohli because he is not going to be there for the whole (tour) – but you are going to need one of your batsmen, at least in my opinion, over the four Test matches to get you something like 500 runs.”
Fast bowler Mark Steketee replaced a concussed Harry Conway in the Australia A attack on Saturday and had Shaw (3) caught at cover point. Shaw did make 40 in the first innings, coming off 0 and 19 against Australia A at Drummoyne Oval, but his poor footwork and willingness to chase deliveries outside off stump could be a major issue if he is to face Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins later this week.
On a day Will Pucovski was ruled out of the first Test because of concussion, and fellow boom youngster Cameron Green continued to be monitored after a sickening hit to the head on his follow through, Conway was removed from the rest of the A clash. He was hit while batting late on Friday night and was diagnosed with delayed concussion on Saturday.
The tourists have confirmed that batsman Rohit Sharma has recovered from a hamstring issue and will join the Test squad in Australia.
Sharma, who could open, is due to arrive within days and will have a hard quarantine of 14 days in Sydney. He will then be available for the third and fourth Tests.
Former Indian captain Anil Kumble said the visitors needed to strike in Adelaide in Virat Kohli’s only match of the series.
“Since India is starting the Test series with a pink ball, that’ll be the biggest challenge,” Kumble said.
“If we can stay ahead in the first Test match then India has a great chance to repeat what they did in the last Australia tour. Although with (Steven) Smith and (David) Warner coming back and then Virat [Kohli] missing the three Test matches, (that) will, obviously, be a big factor for India. But, having said that, there’s enough ability within the team, be it batting or bowling.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.