2nd Test Preview: Green Top Awaits India And Australia In Perth
India are looking to seal off their first Test series win in Australia.
A raging quick wicket has been laid out for the second Test
India had played an all-pace attack in Perth back in 2012
Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma ruled out due to injuries
India will face Australia in the second Test of the four-match series, starting Friday. With the pitch at Perth set to offer bounce and pace, Indian captain Virat Kohli said that the Indian team was more excited than nervous going into the match. India have a potent pace attack in the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav and it will be interesting to see who the fourth pacer will be. Keeping with tradition in Perth, a raging quick wicket has been laid out for the second Test and a healthy layering of grass which could impact strategies for both sides.
The visitors will name a changed playing XI as they have been hit by a couple more injuries. India named their 13-man squad for this second Test, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma ruled out due to injuries.
Prithvi Shaw, on the other hand, is still ruled out, meaning India will retain their opening combination of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.
For the other two spots in the playing eleven, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-man squad.
It gives rise to different permutations and combinations, and Kohli does have a prior history of picking an all-pace attack earlier in 2018. At Johannesburg, on another raging green-top wicket, he picked a four-pacer attack with Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder.
India had played an all-pace attack in Perth back in 2012, when MS Dhoni fielded Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and R Vinay Kumar in Perth.
Even so, recent records need to be considered. In November, Western Australia hosted New South Wales for a Sheffield Shield game at this new ground as a dry-run for this maiden Test.
Out of 40 wickets to fall in that four-day game, eight went to spinners with Nathan Lyon taking seven wickets for 120 runs in two innings and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picking the one wicket for 69 runs in two innings.
Clearly, Lyon as the off-spinner was able to exploit the bounce on offer. If Ashwin had been available, Kohli perhaps would have still been tempted to play him. With Jadeja in the squad though, there is still a possibility to go in with a spinner albeit the temptation is greatly reduced.
The Indian batting line-up should otherwise be unchanged.
Australia could make a tactical change to their batting line-up as well. Aaron Finch has come under sharp criticism for his shot selection in the first Test and there are growing concerns about him going into this match.
After Wednesday's practice sessions, there was a growing opinion that either Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh could open in his place, with Finch slotting down in the middle order.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh still only has an outside chance to play in this Test with skipper Tim Paine declaring himself fully fit after being hurt on his right hand in Adelaide.
Australia are expected to field the same bowling line-up and barring any surprising injuries, Peter Siddle is not in consideration.
The match starts 7:50 am IST.
(With PTI inputs)