Most Indian teams of the past would be wary of a green top but the Virat Kohli-led side will see it
as an opportunity to bulldoze the Australians when the second Test begins on a pitch offering plenty of pace and bounce at the brand new Optus Stadium, here Friday.
READY FOR TEST
The mood in the Indian camp was summed up best by the skipper after a green pitch was
unveiled on eve of the maiden Test at the new facility. “We get more excited than nervous looking
at lively pitches now,” said Kohli, who has a potent pace attack at his disposal.
Curator Brett Sipthorpe is trying to produce the ‘bounciest’ pitch he can and that could very well work in India’s favour as the visitors aim to take a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series, India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs. Keeping with tradition at the good old WACA, a raging quick wicket has been laid for this inaugural five-day game. It has a healthy layering of grass which could impact strategies for both sides.
The visitors will surely name a changed eleven as they have been hit by a couple more injuries. Jadeja may be in India named their 13-man squad for this second Test, with R Aswhin
and Rohit Sharma the two notable absentees. Ashwin is ruled out owing to a left-abdominal strain while Rohit is laid low due to a back issue that he sustained whilst fielding in the first Test at Adelaide.
The batsman missed out on both days of practice leading to the second Test. Ashwin also skipped the optional training on Wednesday, and while he was present for warm-ups during Thursday practice, he didn’t bat or bowl in the nets. Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw continues to be ruled out, meaning India will retain their opening combination of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.
For the other two spots in the playing eleven, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-man squad. It gives rise to different permutations and combinations, and Kohli does have prior history of picking an all-pace attack earlier in 2018.
At Johannesburg, on another raging green-top wicket, he picked a four-pacer attack with Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder. Four-pacer strategy In the practice game in Sydney, Vihari bowled 12 overs against Cricket Australia XI. Along with Vijay, picking Vihari allows the Indian think-tank to go in with a four-pacer strategy, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming in for the injured Ashwin.
Even so, recent records need to be considered. In November, Western Australia hosted New South Wales for a Sheffield Shield game at this new ground as a dry-run for this maiden Test.
Out of 40 wickets to fall in that four-day game, eight went to spinners with Nathan Lyon taking seven wickets for 120 runs in two innings and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picking the one wicket for 69 runs in two innings.