While no one expected India to put up a dismal show against Australia in the first Test, now that it has happened, many see a host of changes in the Indian line-up for the Boxing Day Test. The visitors were bundled out for a shameful 36 in their second innings and then beaten by eight wickets. This was their lowest ever total in a Test match innings.
Come the second match, India would not have the services of skipper Virat Kohli and pacer Mohammed Shami, with the latter sustaining a wrist fracture while batting. Apart from that, underperformers like Prithivi Shaw and Wriddhiman Saha could also face the axe. While it looks almost certain that KL Rahul will come in place of Kohli, his batting order doesn’t seem certain. If the latter bats in the middle-order, then the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari could be promoted. Also, the management could also get rid of Vihari, and get in Shubman Gill as an opener.
Coming to the bowling department, fast bowler Mohammad Siraj is likely make his Test debut. As per a report in India Today, one more change is bound to happen — Rishabh Pant coming in for Wriddhiman Saha. That means Team India could enter the MCG with as many as four changes. Pant has been in decent form and had struck a 73-ball ton against Australia A in the second warm up match. But as has been the case till now, form in the warm-ups doesn’t hold much value.
On the other hand, Australia skipper Tim Paine said on Saturday that he himself was surprised at the quick turn of events that first saw India get dismissed for their lowest total of 36 and then Australia score an eight-wicket win in just over one session.
Australia had entered the third day with their backs to the wall, having conceded a 53-run lead in first innings. India had extended the lead to 62 by Friday night.
However, Josh Hazlewood picked five wickets for eight runs and fellow right-arm pacer Pat Cummins took four wickets for 21 as the Aussies skittled out India for 36. They then reached the 90-run target losing just two wickets with Australia’s biggest worry, opener Joe Burns scoring an unbeaten 53.
“Not really," Paine said when asked if he could believe what happened. “I said this morning in the media that both these attacks have the ability to take quick wickets. Didn’t expect them to come this quick. When our boys execute and there’s anything in the wicket, this is what can happen."