India’s big battle test to level the series in Melbourne minus Kohli
Australia to win
The stage is all set for an interesting battle in the 2nd Test Match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Melbourne Cricket The stage is all set for an interesting battle in the 2nd Test Match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day. The 1st game at Adelaide saw the Indians being bowled out for 36 runs in the second innings to hand over an 8-wicket win to the hosts. This after the Indians had managed to take a 53-run lead in the 1st innings. One disastrous session on Day 3 cost Indians the game. The side which would be without the services of its regular skipper Virat Kohli who is back home for paternity leave. They would have to put this loss behind and play aggressively in this game.
The Indians have an extremely poor record at Melbourne and in the last 8 games at this venue the side has managed just one win. The visitors are struggling with the form of their batsmen especially openers and they will need to fix this problem against the in-form fast bowling trio that the Australians have. The hosts would look to stick to their basic game plan and make the most out of India’s misery at the moment.
Tim Paine would be charged up at the moment. A win in the 1st game was much required to erase the memories of India’s last tour to Australia. The skipper would be happy with the performance of his bowlers who delivered a killer blow to the Indians in the second innings at Adelaide. However their batting needs improvement after the less than perfect show in the last game and the skipper would be eager to take an unassailable 2-0 lead with a win at Melbourne.
David Warner is all set for a comeback and it will strengthen the side’s batting. He will look to set up a good opening stand along with Joe Burns. In the middle order Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith haven’t looked in their best and they need to come up with better performance in this game. Matthew Wade, Paine and Pat Cummins would look to make good contributions down the order with the bat against the relatively weak bowling attack that Indians have.
It was a dream show from their bowlers in the last game the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood stealing the show. They would look to make use of this psychological edge in this game against a line-up that looks shaky to start with. Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green would be looking to make the most out of the opportunity in this game.
Tim Paine (c), Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, David Warner, Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Cameron Green
Tim Paine, Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc, Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood, Steven Smith, TM Head, Nathan Lyon
Ajinkya Rahane has his hands full of problems getting into this game. If the humiliating loss in the last game wasn’t enough he has to now deal with absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli and injury to one of his key bowlers Mohammad Shami. His openers are in poor form and so is the lower middle order. Rahane would be aware of his side’s poor record at Melbourne where they have won just once in the last 8 games. The side would need a complete turnaround in this game to level the series and regain their confidence.
KL Rahul is expected to make his way into the side in place of Prithvi Shaw and he will need to set up a good opening stand with Mayank Agarwal. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane will have to play lead role in the middle order in absence of Kohli. Debutant Shubman Gill along with Ravindra Jadeja and Rishab Pant need to make their contributions against the quality pace attack that the Australians have. The batting line-up would need to put price on their wickets in this game.
Their bowlers did a good job in the last game but injury to Shami is a big blow for the side. Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav troubled the Australian batsmen and they would be expected to do the same here. It would be a huge test for Mohammad Siraj who is expected to make his debut here. With the experience of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja in the spin department, the bowlers would have to play a lead role for the side to win here.
Ajinkya Rahane (c), Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Rishab Pant (wk), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Mohammad Siraj
Mohammed Siraj, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Umesh Yadav
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||10||0 mm.||3.14 k/h||From: W||1%|
|03h||10||0 mm.||6.45 k/h||From: NW||0%|
|06h||8||0 mm.||5.4 k/h||From: NNW||0%|
|09h||6||0 mm.||5.1 k/h||From: NW||0%|
|12h||6||0 mm.||5.23 k/h||From: NW||0%|
|15h||8||0 mm.||5.76 k/h||From: NNW||56%|
|18h||11||0 mm.||4.28 k/h||From: NNW||76%|
|21h||12||0 mm.||3.36 k/h||From: N||73%|
There would be clouds over the skies of Melbourne starting December 26 with predictions of rains on Day 2 of the game. Fast bowlers would enjoy these conditions and batsmen will need to mix caution with aggression during the game. The pitch is expected to stay good for batting for the first three days of the game and both the teams will need to make the most out of it.
Melbourne Cricket Ground is a good batting wicket and perhaps one of the best in Australia. The pace and bounce on the wicket is true and this allows batsmen to play their strokes without much of fear. Fast bowlers get good support from the wicket throughout the game while the spinners do well from the 3rd innings of the game.
It can be a tough wicket to chase the score in the 4th innings when the cracks open up and the spinners get into the act. It is only the 1st session of Day 1 and 2 that batsmen need to be watchful on this surface otherwise there is lots of a run on offer. Hence the side winning the toss is most likely to bat first and aim to set up a big total on the board.
India would be under extreme pressure after the poor outing in the last game. The absence of Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami are big setbacks for the side with the batting line-up having looked shaky in the last game. Australian bowlers are spitting fire at the moment and have got under the skin of the Indians. The hosts have some issues with the bat which they will look to fix this game. Kohli’s absence clearly tilts the balance and the Australians would start favorites here.
Australia to win