Australia hope to strengthen their position at the top of the ICC World Test Championship table as they take on India in the second Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Australia v India, 2nd Test
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Saturday, 26 December – Wednesday, 30 December, 10.30am local time, 11.30pm GMT
Plenty of team changes were announced by India who received a mauling in the first Test despite being ahead in the game heading into what turned out to be the final day. They are without skipper Virat Kohli, who is off on his paternity leave, with Ajinkya Rahane due to lead the side.
Shubman Gill is in for Prithvi Shaw and will open the batting on his Test debut. With Mohammad Shami ruled out, Mohammad Siraj is stepping in. Siraj has played for India A in Australia, New Zealand, England, West Indies and South Africa and has a fair bit of experience even if not at the highest level.
Ravindra Jadeja was seen having a go in the nets full tilt and will play as the all-rounder and second spinner, fulfilling the role at No.7. He would effectively be Virat Kohli's replacement in the XI.
Cheteshwar Pujara was Australia's tormentor-in-chief when India claimed a historic Test series win Down Under in 2018/19 🏏— ICC (@ICC) December 23, 2020
Australia are better prepared for him this time!#AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/FgyNrir71s
Australia, on the other hand, have all but indicated that they would be fielding an unchanged playing XI.
“I’ll be a pretty courageous man to change the playing XI this Test match after the last one. Unless something happens over the next few days and that can in the world we live but we are going with the same XI,” Langer said ahead of the second Test.
Australia will be banking on their pace attack to once again keep the Indian batting line-up, in the absence of stat batsman Virat Kohli, silent.
Remember the last time:
Things unraveled pretty quickly for India in Adelaide on day three after a morning session that saw them lose eight wickets for 16 runs. That said, it's worth remembering that India had done reasonably well to push themselves into a position of strength prior to that with the ball.
Steve Smith being dismissed for one in either innings and the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah are some positives for India from the last Test. Australia, meanwhile, will be chuffed by the remarkable comeback they made, but like India, their batting looked pretty ordinary in the first Test for the most bits.
What they said:
Nathan Lyon (Australia spinner): "We spoke about him [Cheteshwar Pujara] in depth before the series started, it was good to see a couple of plans come off in Adelaide, but we've got a couple more things up our sleeve hopefully that if he does get in we can put in to deploy."
Ravi Shastri (India head coach): "[Umesh] Yadav has the experience. Saini is young and fast. Bumrah, one of the best in business. Siraj is an exciting prospect. You put up runs on the board and watch these fast bowlers hunt the opposition. They can beat Australia in their own den."