“Bigger than Ashes,” is what Australia termed the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy before the series got underway. Well, they weren’t wrong; beating India in India in Test cricket is an uphill task and not many have been able to do it in the recent past.
Aussies knew what they are up against before the first Test but India must have expected a better fight from the number one ranked Test team. The match ended in a one-sided affair with India crushing tourists by an inning and 132 runs.
The series though is still pretty much on with three more Tests to go. However, one thing is pretty sure that India is in the driver’s seat. The massive win in first match in Nagpur would have lifted their spirits further up and crashed Australia’s a bit more.
But is this it? The way this current Australian team has been playing, one can’t rule out their comeback. They will be eyeing to bounce back in the second Test, which is scheduled to take place from Friday, February 17 at Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi.
What to expect from both sides?
India’s plans would be simple: stick to their strengths and continue what they did in the last match. While Australia will want to do complete opposite: bowl better and bat much, much better.
Australia’s batting failed terribly and the first task would be to understand what went wrong and come up with better plans. Apart from Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, none other Australian batter looked to even settle down. So, a big change is needed there.
Any changes to Playing XIs?
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer has been declared fit ahead of the Delhi Test, which means he is most likely to come in the XI. So, who will he replace? It shouldn’t be too tough of a call with Suryakumar Yadav expected to leave the way for Iyer. Any other change in India’s XI would be surprise.
For Australia, experienced pacer Mitchell Starc is expected to return to the XI and replace Scott Boland. But if all-rounder Cameron Green is also fit, then Australia might give a thought to bring in an extra spinner in place of Starc – either Ashton Agar or Matt Kuhnemann.
How could pitch behave?
The pitch at Arun Jaitley Stadium, formerly known as Feroz Shah Kotal, is historically known to be slow and low. The black soiled surface is again likely to favour spinners, which is India’s strength anyways.
So, we can once again expect a spin-dominated Test match with India looking strong favourites.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)