Australia coach Mickey Arthur has given the strongest indication yet that Ed Cowan will be retained for Friday's First Test, with selectors tipped to resist the temptation to promote Shane Watson back to the top of the order.
Watson, the vice-captain, has made no secret of his wish to resume his Test career as an opener, where he has enjoyed most success with the bat.
However, Cowan's form in Australia's two practice games in the Tamil Nadu capital - scoring 58, 40 and 53 - looks set to ensure the adopted Tasmanian is retained against India.
David Warner will be his partner if, as expected, he overcomes a thumb complaint in time for play at Chidambaram Stadium.
Watson will not bowl on this tour after a summer spoiled by a calf injury but has designs on returning as an all-rounder for the Ashes series in the English summer.
Cowan is averaging only 32.81 after 13 Tests but has developed an increasingly reliable yin-and-yang partnership with the free-swinging Warner.
"I do think though that we've just come off a series where we've beaten Sri Lanka 3-0 ... do those players get first opportunity?" Arthur said.
"Ed has come out of these practice games with his head held high. He's had a good method against the spin and he's played exceptionally well."
Arthur said Watson was a key plank in Australia's plan to attack India's under-pressure spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Watson's selection at No 4 would keep captain Michael Clarke further down the order, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade likely to bat at No 6.
Arthur also suggested Australia were leaning towards Moises Henriques to fill the all-rounder's slot and make his Test debut in Chennai.