India’s capitulation in the first Test will have brought back memories of tour’s past, and they will have to cope with the absence of their top-scorer going forward.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Australia showed their great strength remains their deadly pace attack which has allowed them to seize the advantage.
Australia vs India | 26 December – 30 December 2020 | The MCG, Melbourne
To Win Match
The victory in the first Test papered over some significant cracks in Australia’s top-order.
The hosts still rely heavily on Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, even more so with regular opener David Warner absent with injury and Australia struggling to fill that void.
Joe Burns’ second innings 50 is likely to buy him time to save his Test career but Australia need him to blunt India’s pace attack to better effect in Melbourne.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are arguably the pre-eminent pace trio in Test cricket right now, and Australia’s recent success has been built off their labours.
Local government has allowed the MCG to raise their adjusted capacity to 30,000 for the Test match at Australia’s largest cricket stadium.
The loss of Virat Kohli to paternity leave comes at the worst possible time for India who could use some of his resilience and fight.
India will instead be led by Ajinkya Rahane who has much to prove after he played a part in sparking the terrific collapse in the pink-ball Test.
With Rohit Sharma still in quarantine, India are likely to persist with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal fronting efforts against the new ball. They also have the option of recalling KL Rahul.
Shubman Gill has been favoured to take Kohli’s place in the XI but we could see Rahane bat at four and Gill come in at five or six. India could also bolster their batting with a wicketkeeping shift as they have Rishabh Pant available to replace the under-fire Wriddhiman Saha.
India must find a way to get Ravi Ashwin into the game. Test cricket’s best off-spinner could win India the match single-handedly if Australia are under pressure at the crease late in the contest.
Verdict: Australia 1/3
The bowlers might have to work hard for this, but Australia should win or at least muster a draw.
Written by James Richardson.