Friday is a big day for the fans from India and Australia as the second test is set to get underway. Arun Jaitley Stadium at New Delhi is the venue as the two teams walk in with contrasting fortunes.
Australia lost the first test by an innings and 132 runs in under 3 days. The 1st test at Nagpur still had 7 sessions to go as the Indian spinners wrecked havoc on the Australian batters. Ahead of the 2nd test though, there is a concern and the concern is not from the Australian camp, but that concern comes from within.
Eerie Similarities Circa 2020 Adelaide Oval
It was the start of the Indian tour of Australia. The first ever since the global pandemic of Coronavirus. India played their first test match Adelaide which finished in the afternoon of the 3rd day. Australia had the Indian batters all out in one session for mere 36 on the board. The situation does sound familiar, doesn’t it?
The roles were revered when India had Australia all out for 91, which is their lowest total in India. Just like the Adelaide game, the visiting side had faltered on day 3 in one session to give the hosts an easy win.
Blanking out the whitewash talk –
Another similarity that India has to face is that, this time India is favorites for a 4-0 whitewash. Back in 2020/21, many experts had predicted India to lose the series 4-0, this after their 36 run shambolic show. Coupled with the fact, Virat Kohli was heading back home to be with his wife, to welcome their child’s birth.
This time though the shoe is on the other foot. Australia now are being spoken about as the likely recipient of a series whitewash. Indian team and Rohit Sharma must not pay heed to this talk and look to play their best cricket.
Beware of an attacking Australian outfit –
Australia did not look like itself during the match at Nagpur. After getting dismissed for 177, the shoulders and spirits dropped at the end of day. India had scored 77/1 at the end of 1st day with just 100 behind. Despite claiming wickets at regular intervals, Australia knew any lead over 175 will hurt them.
Allan Border made a recent point about Steve Smith giving thumbs up to Jadeja after getting beaten. This according to Border wasn’t “Australian Like”, the former captain wanted to see the Aussie spirit back. That could be bad news for India if that happenes. If Australia play with a free mind and spirit there could be banter with the bat and ball as well with the lips. Once the visitors know they are in control they will not let the foot off the pedal.
The form of key players –
Closer home, the fans will be rightly worried about the form by KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. Both the batters come into the test under immense pressure and the need to put runs on the board. Rahul, for one will know his back his against the wall after failing to score a 50 for over a year. With the likes of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal waiting, the 30 year’s days could be numbered in the test format.
Virat Kohli on the other hand may not be dropped but his worrying slide will surely raise eyebrows. Kohli, hasn’t scored a century for over 3 and half years. He returns to Delhi after nearly 5 years in front of his home crowd. A century on his home turf could possibly be the best news for India. Just like KL Rahul though, Kohli will have his eyes on the scorecard because the time surely will be ticking in case of another failure.
One big return and one likely debut for Australia –
It is confirmed that Mitchell Starc is going to be fit for the 2nd test at Delhi. This would mean Scott Boland could make way for Starc. The left arm seamer will be pumped up and has had decent success against India. Starc, has lost his pace a bit over the last few years, but his skills and talent are still the same.
India will also have to look out for Matthew Kuhnemann who could come out of the left field just like Steve O Keefe did a few years ago. The left arm spinner could join Lyon and Murphy to form a 3 man spin attack like India did in the 1st test. Mohammad Siraj and Shubman Gill had made their test debut for India during the MCG test. The pair played with devil may care attitude to turn the tide towards India and win the game by 8 wickets.
Cricket Cult’s take –
India will be well aware of the big threat that is looming as the date for the 2nd test draws closer. India will need to keep doing the right things with the bat and ball and in the field. If there is one thing the Australians hate is being contained and put under pressure. If India take their foot of the pedal, there is a good chance, a repeat of BGT 2020/21 could be seen. This time though, it could be the Australians that would be cutting the cake.