India seek revival

The Plot

A lot has been said and written between Day 1 of the first Test between India and Australia, and now. All of it has been contrasting for both teams, against most expectations as well. Who would have thought that Virat Kohli and his men would trip and fall into the hole they had dug up to bury Steven Smith and his men? Who would have thought that Steve O'Keefe, whose previous best bowling figures in an innings was a 3-fer, would go on and claim 6 wickets in each innings in Pune? Who would have thought that the same team that scored in excess of 600 in three consecutive innings, would capitulate for under 110 runs in both their outings? All of the above happened, and in emphatic fashion! After dominating New Zealand, England, and Bangladesh, we may finally have a series where India will feel a great amount of pressure after falling 0-1 down in the series.

India have themselves to blame for the loss, and Virat Kohli has accepted that it was their batting that struck them down to the ground. There is another department of the game that hurt them a lot - catching; and they dropped many important ones in Pune. There is little doubt that India will come back hard at the Aussies, the way they did against Sri Lanka in 2014, when they beat the hosts 2-1, after losing the first Test. The Australians, on the other hand, won't look to get carried away and expect the Indian batsmen to fall at their feet yet again.

Stage

M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

The pitch in Pune also took centre-stage and the one in Bengaluru has been thrown into limelight as a consequence. Had the first Test not ended inside three days, the build-up to proceedings in Bengaluru would have been pretty quiet, considering that it's a venue that has hosted many Test matches. However, most of the talk around the game revolves around the surface that will be dished out over here. The curator has promised a competitive wicket, which will provide an even balance between batting and bowling. The traditional pitch at the M. Chinnaswamy is placid to bat on, initially, but will wear on as the action progresses into the final two days.

Acts

O'Keefe vs Indian batsmen:

This battle has to be the talk of the series at the moment. Steve O'Keefe left the Indian batsmen shell-shocked with his match figures of 12/70. He isn't a big turner of the ball and most of the Indian batsmen lost their wickets expecting the ball to turn sharply. It'll be interesting to see the Indians' approach against O'Keefe, who will have his tail up.

Umesh Yadav vs David Warner

Umesh Yadav was one of India’s few positives in the first Test. He claimed a five-fer in the first innings including the scalp of David Warner. Usually unmoved by pace, Warner has been dismissed by Yadav on 5 occasions in his career. The Australian though, is unlikely to change his natural game, which will make this battle intriguing, early on in the Australian innings.

Indian spinners vs Steven Smith

Once touted to be Warne's successor with the ball, Steven Smith is currently one of the best batsmen against spin. He proved that not even the best in the business could stop him from scoring a hundred on a pitch that was a batsman's nightmare. Do Ashwin and Jadeja have an answer to the 'Smithstery'?

Artists

Different game, different surface, different strategies perhaps! Here’s what we think the teams could look like for the second Test.

Virat Kohli has been known to make regular changes in his playing XI even when his team was on an unbeaten run. Mishra has been handed many opportunities, but Kohli could be tempted to have some variety in his repertoire.

India probable XI - KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav/Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

Steven Smith didn't have any headaches while picking his playing XI and Australia have announced an unchanged playing XI for the second Test.

Australia probable XI - David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Steven Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

 

 


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