The India-Australia Test series has kicked off at Adelaide and it hasn’t gone the way India would have liked it go. India had the upper hand after the first couple of days but a disastrous collapse ruined all that advantage as India was bowled for 36 in the second innings. The Indian team is facing a lot of questions, and they need to answer them before the next Test.
The Indian captain Virat Kohli will be flying back to India for the birth of his first child as Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian team in his absence. There are a few other players who might be left out after their performances in the first test. So, let’s have a look at the strongest XI for the Indian team for the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Openers – Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill
There is no debate around Mayank Agarwal and he would continue as the opener at the venue where he made his Test debut. The debate is about his partner Prithvi Shaw who opened in the first Test. In both the innings, Shaw’s stumps were knocked over as a technical error is clearly visible.
The youngster is struggling with his technique and doesn’t seem to be confident on the field as he dropped a catch. Shubman Gill who had a good Practice Match could replace him as the opener for the second Test. Gill has a better technique and looked confident in the Practice Game. Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill should open in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Middle-order – Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane & Hanuma Vihari
Three out of those four players pick themselves and so there is no need to change them. Virat Kohli who bats at No.4 will be missing from the second Test and India would need a player to replace him. KL Rahul who was in great form in the white-ball formats could be the prime candidate to replace him.
Rahul has played Test cricket as an opener but we have seen that he is comfortable batting at any position. The other thing which the team management could do is push Hanuma Vihari at No.4 and KL Rahul can bat at No.6 where he can face the second new ball. India has both the options open and they might choose one of them.
Wicket-keeper- Rishabh Pant
The Indian team went in with the conventional wicket-keeping of Wriddhiman Saha for the first game but we might see a change in the second game at MCG. Rishabh Pant who is a better batsman is an option for Wriddhiman Saha.
The young wicket-keeper batsman has played previously in Australia and has performed well. He even scored a century in the Practice game. Saha is a better wicket-keeper but even Pant can be a decent wicket-keeper behind the wickets and he can definitely offer more with the bat. The team management should think of picking Pant as their wicket-keeper batsman.
Bowlers – R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav & Navdeep Saini
All four bowlers pick themselves and there should be no debate around them. Most of the bowlers did well in the first Test and they will remain key for India in the second Test as well. R Ashwin was brilliant in the first innings along with Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.
Mohammad Shami didn’t get a wicket in the first innings but he is more than capable of running through a side on his day. but unfortunately, he has suffered a fracture to his finger and ruled out for the remainder of the series. Speedster Navdeep Saini is likely to replace Shami in the MCG Test.