Australia vs India 2nd Test Preview: Time to sink or swim for Kohli-less India as Rahane takes charge
Only one of two responses follows a collapse of the magnitude which India suffered in the last minutes of the Adelaide test, bounce back with all your might or get knocked out.
LIVE - Australia vs India, 2nd Test, India tour of Australia
It came as a bolt out of the blue for Team India when they were dismissed for just 36 runs in their second innings of the Adelaide test, following a lead of 53 runs in the first innings. This is India's lowest-ever total, surpassing their previous worst of 42 which they scored against England in 1974.
This is also the joint fifth-lowest test total of all-time with New Zealand at the top of the charts with a 26 all-out against England at Auckland.
Mayank Agarwal top scored for India in the second innings with 9 which was only the second time in the history of test cricket that no batsman managed to reach double figures in an entire innings. The visitors went on to lose 4 wickets within 29 deliveries without scoring a single run.
All these stats don't read well when you are the third ranked team in the ICC test rankings and boast of one of the best batting line-ups in the world.
Aussies have their tail up
Australia, who were on the back seat at several points in the Adelaide test, now have their tails up after registering an 8-wicket victory in the series opener. Particularly, their trio of fast bowlers, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, who are certainly among the best fast bowling groups in the world, if not the best, will be pumped to repeat their heroics in the remaining matches of the series.
A target of just around 90 for Australia in the final innings also allowed the out of form Joe Burns an opportunity to score an unbeaten half-century and get his confidence back.
Hence, India not only took a blow to their chin but their huge loss also buoyed Australia, who were unsure of a lot of things coming into the series opener, to take a lot of confidence from the match.
Lot depends on stand-in captain Rahane
In the absence of Virat Kohli, who has flown back to India to be present at the birth of his first child, the onus is now on the shoulders of Ajinkya Rahane, who will lead the side in Kohli's absence. Rahane has done it successfully in the past both with the bat and as a leader on odd occasions, but it is his batting form over the last couple of years which is a cause of concern.
There is a lot of talk about him leading from the front in cricket circles but Rahane can do that only if runs flow off his blade. His individual success thus becomes a lot more important for the entire team. If Rahane can put in a solid performance with the bat, he'll take a lot of confidence with him as the skipper as well.
It will then have a domino effect on the entire team which is in dire need of confidence at the moment, given their capitulation in the last innings.
India to make changes in bulk
After their embarrassing defeat at Adelaide, India are planning several changes to their playing XI. KL Rahul is likely to come in for the out of form Prithvi Shaw while Shubman Gill will take the place of Virat Kohli.
Rishabh Pant is set to replace wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha while Ravindra Jadeja, if fit, will replace Hanuma Vihari at number 6. The race is on between Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini for the spot of Mohammed Shami, who has been ruled out of the series with a broken arm.
David Warner still not fit enough
Australia might have pushed harder for the return of David Warner had they lost the first test match. But after their victory, they are not taking any chances and Warner is expected to make a comeback only in the 3rd test match of the series as he is still to attain 100 percent fitness.
In his absence, Matthew Wade and Joe Burns will continue to open the batting for Australia.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Australia - Matthew Wade, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood
India - Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
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