After a big defeat against the Kangaroos in the first test, visitors will be looking for a comeback, at the MCG on the boxing day test. They were dismissed at 36 in the first test. India will find themselves in the tough place to make a comeback. Unavailability of the captain and the main batsmen of the team, Virat Kohli and the speedster Mohammad Shami, is only going to add to the challenge.
Apart from Kohli and Shami’s absence there are severe cracks in the Indian team exposed after the first game. Unsettled Indian team has made quite a few changes their set up. The change of leadership also might make it more difficult for them. Rahane hasn’t been in great form since quite a while, so, how will he handle the team might be something to look forward.
On the bowling part, India had a performance on the first test. However, injury of Shami will increase the responsibility on Bumrah’s shoulder. Also, there are reasonable doubts over how will the debutant Mohammad Siraj performs.
“Talking about the first game, we had good couple of days, and it was one bad hour where, we completely lost it. Our plan ahead is back our self, stick to the plans and just play good cricket.”Rahane said.
On the other hand, Team Paine’s Australia is quite confident and in great shape. However, there still are some troubles for Australia, specially with the batting. Although, Tim Paine himself will love the touch that he was in in the first game. But, the batting performance from the rest of the team was not up to the mark.
Both the openers and also the middle order except Labuschagne struggled in the first innings. However, Joe Burns scored a fifty and Mathew Wade had a decent start in the second innings. Also, the middle order will be heavily reliant on Steven Smith.
“We can’t pay any attention to mental scales, they are a good team and we need to play good cricket. They are a good team, and can bounce back. Previously, We’ve been on overseas tour and been bowled out for 50. And, it’s quite difficult when team isn’t doing well.”Tim pain said to cricbuzz.
Tim Paine also confirmed that, they will not play Warner until they absolutely have to. Also, they are happy to back Wade and Burns.
India Playing XI (announced):
- Mayank Agarwal
- Shubman Gill
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- Ajinkya Rahane (c)
- Hanuma Vihari
- Rishabh Pant (w)
- Ravindra Jadeja
- R Ashwin
- Umesh Yadav
- Mohammed Siraj
- Jasprit Bumrah
Debutants: Mohammad Siraj, Shubhman Gill
Australia Playing XI (probable):
- Mathew Wade
- Joe Burns
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steven Smith
- Travis Head
- Cameroon Green
- Tim Paine (c & w)
- Pat Cummins
- Mitchell Starc
- Nathan Lyon
- Josh Hazzlewood.
Players to Watch
Lets be honest, Steven Smith is always a player to watch for Australia. However, First test didn’t go well for him, but he will be looking to not repeat that on the second test. Also, his test average is 79.5 against India. So, he is definitely the one on whom everyone will have eyes on.
In Kohli’s absence, Jaspreet Bumrah will be the key for Indian side. He being the most skillful speedster of the side, will have a lot to do. But, Shami’s absence can give him an extra burden. Despite of that, he will have to rise above the expectations deliver what he can.
Pitch condition and Weather
Melbourne’s pitch is expected to be on the slower side and a batting friendly wicket. However, weather might affect that. First couple of days of test is expected to be warmer, first day is 27 degree followed by 33 on second. Also, the second day is the only day with forecast of rain. However, the last 3 days are expected to drastically cooler than that.
The Number Game
- Australian team has won all the since the Ashes, last year. They have a streak of 6 wins. This is the highest streak for Tim Paine, the captain.
- This is the 100th test between Australia and India.
Head to Head: Australia: 43, India: 28, Tie: 1,Draws: 27
Last 5 Tests:
India: L L L W W Australia: W W W W W