Much has been talked about the ideal combination Team India should go with after a sour defeat at Adelaide in the first Test. Many believe that it’s time India hand the gloves to Rishabh Pant and give a debut to Shubman Gill. That means the team will have to ditch Wriddhiman Saha and Prithvi Shaw. While others think it isn’t ideal for the team to dump players just after one Test and these aforementioned players should be given an opportunity to redeem themselves.
The Boxing Day Test couldn’t have had a better build-up to it as Team India are looking to bounce back in the series while the Australians are riding high on confidence. Here’s how both teams are preparing for the Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
It was confirmed earlier in the week that even though David Warner and Sean Abbott have travelled to Melbourne earlier than their schedule but both will remain ruled out for the second Test against India. The first XI chosen by Australia did enough to give the team a lead in the Border-Gavaskar series, a trophy they so desperately want to win after results in the previous few series. The Australian team seems to have all bases covered as they humiliated the Indian team on the third day of the first Test. However, their first innings batting was nowhere good enough, and Tim Panie and the management would look to rectify that on a placid drop-in wicket at the MCG. Expect the Australian team to remain unchanged for this game and that means both Joe Burns and Matthew Wade get an extended stay at the top of the order.
PREDICTED AUSTRALIAN XI: Matthew Wade, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (WK) (C), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Before the series started there was a perception that the Indian Test team was far more settled than the hosts and they had a realistic chance of winning yet another series Down Under. After the debacle in the second innings at the Adelaide Oval, there are talks of a whitewash going around. To make matters worse, Team India would be without their inspirational captain and their best batsman Virat Kohli for the rest of the series. Pacer Mohammed Shami has also been ruled out from this series as he sustained a fracture in the first Test on his hand.
So there are plenty of questions the Men in Blue need to answer ahead of this game. Everyone in the country has an opinion about the ideal combination the team should go in with. There are talks that the management is ready to bench Prithvi Shaw and Wriddhiman Saha just after one Test. That means Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant are ready to play the Boxing Day Test. There’s also a question on KL Rahul’s ability as a Test batter as he has played only one First-Class match since August 2019. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has a brilliant Test record and his current batting form needs to be capitalised on. He might just get the nod and India would look to play two spinners at a track which is going to be batting friendly. The other option is to go with a five-man bowling attack and hand a Test debut to either Navdeep Saini or Mohammed Siraj.
There are many unanswered questions ahead of Ravi Shashtri and Co. There’s no doubt that India are on the back foot going into this particular game and can be in for a tough fight against the hosts who are oozing with confidence. Ajinkya Rahane knows that his team is under pressure currently but he needs to use his calm demeanour to the advantage of the team.
PREDICTED INDIA XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
Rain might play spoilsport on Day two of the Test match but overall shouldn’t affect the result of the game. The last three matches Australia played at the MCG they have managed to win only on one occasion. India won the last time they played there courtesy a stunning hundred by Cheteshwar Pujara and a six-wicket haul by Jasprit Bumrah in the first innings.
WHERE TO CATCH THE SECOND TEST ACTION
Fans can catch the second Test match live on the Sony network and the live stream on SonyLiv. We’re back with normal Test cricket so the first ball will be bowled at 5:00 AM IST.
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