After a historic victory at Adelaide, India prepares for a feisty battle at Perth against Australia in the second Test match beginning on December 14.
There has been a lot of talk regarding Australia's team and whether they require a fifth bowling option going into the Perth Test match. In case, captain Tim Paine decides to go in with an extra bowler, vice-captain Mitchell Marsh may get a look in.
Perth promises to be a spicy wicket and the Aussies will need pacer Mitchell Starc to return to his menacing best in order to make a comeback in the series.
Although the Australian top-order failed to deliver in the first Test match, no changes are expected as the home side are bereft of choices in the continued absence of the banned duo of David Warner and Steve Smith.
India, on their part, looked settled with their line-up until news broke that Ravi Ashwin and Rohit Sharma injured themselves. While Hanuma Vihari is waiting in the wings to replace Rohit, the alternative for Ashwin will be interesting to see.
Captain Virat Kohli will hope that Vihari can find his touch at Perth – like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane did at Adelaide – and continue the form he showed in England.
India name 13-man squad for 2nd Test: Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/dBnMLqZ7AD— BCCI (@BCCI) December 13, 2018
A glimpse of the pitch at Adelaide is enough to see that it is a green top which gives the management a headache whether to go in with an all-pace attack or give Ravindra Jadeja a game. In case the management decides in favour of the former, a choice between Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will pop up. Given the latter's batting prowess, he might be given the nod ahead of Umesh considering India's weak tail.
The trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma bowled exceedingly well in Adelaide. The pacemen showed commendable discipline, skill and control in choking the Aussies leading India to a famous win.
Pitch and Conditions
Paine has asked for a "really fast" pitch for the second Test match at Perth. While the pitch will once again be a drop-in, it is almost certain that the skipper's wish will be granted.
India will not mind a fast wicket as they have done well in the last decade on quick and bouncy wickets. In fact, during the infamous 2007-08 tour to Australia, India bounced back from the "Monkeygate" Test match with a victory at the very venue.
Gone are those days when opponents could psychologically win a Test match against India by dishing out fast pitches as India, now, has their own cavalry of genuinely quick bowlers. Earlier in the year, South Africa found that out on a dangerous wicket at Johannesburg when the Indian bowlers literally knocked them out before pinning them into submission.
Cloud cover is expected in Perth on the first three days of the Test match with temperatures in the high 30s. The final two days will most likely see the sun come out with temperatures dropping to mid-20s.
Probable playing XIs
Australia: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (WK) (C), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
India: KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah