India vs Australia is sure to get cricket lovers waking up early in the morning to follow the action. Here is a preview of the second test match due to start at Brisbane in a few hours from now.
Gabba in Brisbane is traditionally known for its pace friendly conditions, India might expect to face the full burst of a resurgent Aussie side, Down Under, in the 2nd Test match starting tomorrow. The Indians will find it a tad difficult to acclimatize to the Brisbane environs after having spent 5 days on an Adelaide track that resembled the spin friendly ones in the subcontinent. This disadvantage for the visitors, however, has supposedly been cancelled out by an array of changes which the Aussies have been forced to make post the 1st Test match.
A new look Aussie side
Very rarely have we seen Australian sides make sweeping changes right after the first match in a Test series at home, especially after emerging from a Test victory. Yet, that is exactly what the Aussies have been forced to do, as a result of a number of unforeseen circumstances occurring together. While Michael Clarke’s aging body could take it no longer after a painstakingly constructed yet splendid 1st innings ton at Adelaide, Ryan Harris’ ongoing issues with fitness was not altogether unexpected. In addition a string of unimpressive shows with the red cherry in the recent past did not do speedster Peter Siddle any good in keeping his place in the team intact.
So Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle are set to be replaced by Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, while Clarke’s place has been handed over to Shaun Marsh.
All eyes on Captain Steve Smith
A young and energetic Steven Smith has been handed over the baton of captaincy for the foreseeable future – a move that clearly expresses the fact that the team management is taking a call for the long run. Smith’s brilliant run of form in all formats of the game has seen him leapfrog veteran Brad Haddin in the race for the captain’s post. A slight tinkering in the batting order can be expected, especially after Smith strongly expressed his intention to promote himself up to No 4.
Questions for Indian team to answer
Even though conditions in Brisbane are expected to favour the home side, an optimistic Indian fan would not consider things as bad as they appear to be. Indian batsmen, inspite of limited experience of playing in Australia, did put up a good show in both innings of the Adelaide Test and it is only normal to expect them to fight harder in Brisbane.
The return of Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the side is sure to calm a few nerves in the Indian camp! The talking point, though, is the Indian bowling which failed to live up to expectations throughout the 1st Test match. This can, however, change – given the fact that the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Mohammed Shami shall now be presented with a track with immensely more help for the pacers than what was on offer in Adelaide.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s return to the side cannot entirely be overruled, even though the management might decide to persist with Karn Sharma who, despite picking up a few wickets in his debut Test, was not up to the mark on a spin friendly track. Shikhar Dhawan, too, shall be eager to stem his stretch of recent low scores abroad.
Need to Handle Pressure
Inspite of the impressive show of aggression on the last day in Adelaide, India’s performance in the first four days was below par on most occasions – and the Aussies were just flawless in executing their plans for most part of the match. The Indians need to consolidate on the periods they dominate in Brisbane, instead of undoing their own hard work in an hour of madness (losing eight wickets for less than 75 runs, for instance!). India’s ability to handle pressure for a sustained period of time shall strongly determine their fate, five days from now!