Australia vs India 2nd Test, Preview: New-Look India Eye Series-Levelling Win In Boxing Day Clash
Australia vs India: Without the services of Virat Kohli, India will face a daunting challenge as they look to bounce back in the second Test in Melbourne.
- India take on Australia in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne
- India have made four changes to their playing XI from Adelaide Test
- Australia beat India by 8 wickets in the series-opening day-night Test
Blown away by a fiery Australian bowling attack in the series opener in Adelaide and without the services of captain and star batsman Virat Kohli, India will face a daunting challenge as they look to bounce back in the second Test in Melbourne. The visitors have made four changes to their playing XIwith Shubman Gill and Mohmmed Siraj set to make their Test debuts. Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant also find a place while Wriddhiman Saha, Prithvi Shaw and Mohammed Shami (injured) are the casualties of the Adelaide debacle. Despite being ahead after both teams finished their respective first innings at the end of Day 2 in Adelaide, India suffered a dramatic collapse on Day 3as they finished at 36/9, their lowest-ever Test total in history.
The batting collapse has raised serious questions and concerns, especially with captain Virat Kohli returning to India on paternity leave. Australia, meanwhile, will be buoyed by their brilliant display with the pink ball and are set to name the same team that played in Adelaide.
As if succumbing for their lowest total in history wasn't enough, India faced a further setback during their second innings with the bat in Adelaide in the form of an injury to pacer Mohammed Shami.
India came into the series already without senior pacer Ishant Sharma, and Shami's absence will be another huge blow for the visitors as they will have to field a newcomer in his place.
However, the performances of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav in the first Test will be encouraging for stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane will also be hoping that Ravichandran Ashwin can repeat the form he showed in Adelaide, picking up four wickets in the first innings.
Australia head coach Justin Langer on Thursday said that they are set to field the same team that beat India in Adelaide.
The day-night Test in Adelaide saw the bowlers impress, especially in India's second innings as Josh Hazlewood picked five and Pat Cummins took four. However, Australia will also be hoping for their star batsmen to find form, with Steve Smith failing in the first innings.
Marnus Labuschagne scored a scratchy 47, but not before being dropped on more than one occasion.
David Warner has been ruled out of the Boxing Day clash, with Langer saying that he had his "fingers crossed" for the left-hander's return in the third Test.
Opener Joe Burns was under the scanner coming into the series, but a quick half-century in the fourth innings calmed some doubts about him.
Tim Paine also played a crucial knock for Australia, with his unbeaten 73 helping Australia post a decent first-innings score, even as most of his teammates fell cheaply. In the end, he was awarded the Man of the Match trophy, despite the bowlers' display that followed his knock.
While India recorded their first-ever Boxing Day Test win against Australia during their last tour Down Under, Australia will be looking to pile on the misery for the visitors and take an unbeatable lead in the series.