Australia coach Mickey Arthur has hinted that opening batsman Ed Cowan will retain his place for the first Test against India despite the return of Shane Watson.

Fellow opener David Warner has been under an injury cloud after hurting his thumb, but looks increasingly likely to be fit to take his place in the side when the Test gets underway on Friday. As a result Cowan's place in the side has come under scrutiny, with Watson having previously thrived at the top of the innings.

However, Arthur sees no reason why both players cannot play, with Cowan having performed admirably in recent times and a gap having opened up in the middle order following Mike Hussey's retirement.

'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?'' mused Arthur.

''We're pretty clear on where and how we want to go now. We're just waiting on one or two fitness concerns. We just want to see how Davey Warner comes up over the next day or two.

''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 believes that having an experienced campaigner the likes of Watson in the middle order will provide some stability.

"I think Watto's a class player so wherever Watto fits in I think he adds value," said the South African.

"Potentially through the middle is going to be a real tough time to bat, so you want your most seasoned campaigners in that area.

"We've got to look again and see what we think is going to be the best possible way of winning. That's the primary focus for us, how are we going to beat India in India. We've got to look at our best possible combination to do that."