India vs Australia: Second T20 International

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

India and Australia head into the relative unknown for their next T20 International hosted by the newly-built Barsapara Cricket Stadium.

Inclement weather robbed the opening fixture in the three-match series of a full contest, but India comfortably got over the line at the JSCA International Stadium Complex regardless.

Australia, meanwhile, suffered familiar failings with the bat - consistently witnessed and well documented throughout the preceding ODI series against the same opposition - and will target a prompt turnaround.

India v Australia | Tuesday, 10 October | Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati | 15:30

To Win Match
India 52/100 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 31/20 

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The first T20I was a bit of a non-affair, with a low total from Australia and a truncated pursuit from India affording the latter a key series lead. Plenty of emphasis has since been placed on the second match, which will be played at a venue that has never hosted an international fixture previously.

While the pitch on offer in Ranchi was characteristically low and slow, neither team will quite know what to expect in Guwahati. Often, there is Indian Premier League experience at a little-known ground to draw on, but that too is not the case here. If triumphant at the toss, India will therefore play it safe and bowl first again.

Hardik Pandya was off colour in the opening T20I - and needs to rediscover the challenging lengths that have put him among India's standout performers of the year. The fielding unit, meanwhile, will demand an improved performance - after dropping two catches and missing a stumping opportunity in Ranchi.

The hosts won't likely tweak their XI, but might toy with the idea of drafting in Ashish Nehra. Jasprit Bumrah shone on Saturday, but could do with some additional seam support. Alternatively, more spin - and extra batting - in the form of Axar Patel ahead of Pandya might be their preference on the day.

Aaron Finch was quick to point out an all too familiar occurrence after the weekend's defeat. Indeed, Australia continue to hamper themselves on the sub-continent by entertaining soft dismissals at crucial junctures. Finch's fall for 42 and Glenn Maxwell's departure for 17 were cases in point. Both men must convert such promising starts.

They will remain without Steven Smith. He is still sidelined by injury. David Warner can't afford to have his primary role with the bat hindered by the additional responsibility of the stand-in captaincy. Smith's absence in the middle order, too, will require the selection of Moises Henriques and Dan Christian, rather than one or the other.

Here's hoping for better from Andrew Tye. The seamer was a late addition to the squad, after the decision to rest Pat Cummins ahead of the Ashes. Tye all but perfected the use of the so-called 'knuckle' ball for the Gujarat Lions in the IPL - and one surmises such deceptive variations will come in handy on a variable deck in Guwahati.

Australia seem hesitant to unleash Jason Behrendorff, whose career had been rocked by injury, but has since enjoyed significant recovered. The tourists will be compelled to play the pace ace this week - and perhaps return Marcus Stoinis to the fray, too. Kane Richardson is waiting in the wings as well, so options are relevant.

Verdict: India 52/100
Despite the shortened nature of the first fixture, plenty of signs suggested the hosts won't relent on the dominance they procured in the ODI series - and will take an unassailable series lead on Tuesday.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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