India eye strong comeback against confident Australia in 2nd Test (Preview)
Bengaluru, March 3 (IANS) India will look to bounce back from their horrible defeat in the opening cricket Test against Australia when the second of the four-match series begins at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.
India’s 19-match winning streak came to an end in Pune as they lost by 333 runs inside three days, giving Australia the much-needed confidence. On a pitch assisted by spin, India got a dose of their own medicine in Pune as left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe took 12 wickets in the match to floor the hosts.
The pitch here is generally known to be batting friendly but spin will come into play expectedly from the third day. The spin-assisted Pune played into Australia’s hands as they grabbed their first win since 2004 and it will be interesting to see how the visitors fare against the hurt and smarting Indians, who will come hard at them.
Australia, having won the very first match, are high on confidence. This team’s approach, unlike other Australian visiting teams in the past, has been different. They have taken a cautious and modest approach which also can be judged from the fact that skipper Steven Smith admitted that they would like the underdog status before the first Test. That soft approach would not have been expected of a Steve Waugh or a Ricky Ponting who also never had great records in the Indian sub-continent.
Even though Smith tried to put pressure on India by saying “obviously going into this series, all I heard was four-nil to them. So they’re one down and need to come back”, he knows that it will only help the Australians if they remain humble liek they did in the first Test.
Smith, himself was pivotal in his team’s win in Pune, scoring a hundred in the second innings, and he will expect others to join the party. Apart from O’Keefe and Smith, young opening batsman Matt Renshaw impressed one and all, scoring 68 and 31 in the two innings. Australia have high hopes from Shaun Marsh and pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazzlewood. The team is expected to retain the winning 11 from Pune. Above all, the performances of the spin duo of Nathan Lyon and O’Keefe will be crucial for the visitors.
Their rival camp, India may consider one change to their team. Off-spinner Jayant Yadav’s spot was questioned after the Haryana player could take only two wickets and contributed a bare seven runs in the first match. Even though, captain Virat Kohli didn’t reveal his team on Friday, he defended Jayant saying that he has performed well in the limited opportunities he has got and that he is an “intelligent” cricketer. Pacer Ishant Sharma is nother player whose position has come under scrutiny.
For Kohli’s men, it will be a task to ensure that Pune Test remains a rare failure. In this home season, the Anil Kumble-coached side has vanquished New Zealand, England and Bangladesh and for the first time, they are behind.
“When you don’t have enough intent and you lose the game, that’s when it hurts you,” Kohli reckoned at the pre-match media conference and the 28-year-old firebrand captain is hopeful that show of intent starts from him.
Pacer Umesh Yadav’s six-wicket spell in Pune has come at a right time for India and along with the spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be hopeful of doing what they have been doing in the home season.