The second Test in Bangalore is poised to be a beauty. India failed dismally in Pune, losing by 333 runs. Captain Virat Kohli will be feeling the pressure after his two ordinary innings. The number one batsman in the world will be looking to put Australia on the back foot and even the series ledger. But the other top order batsmen must stand up as well, Lokesh Rahul was the only one who offered any resistance.
Ravichandran Ashwin will more than likely to be used a lot in this game after his 50 overs plus in Pune. He will hope to another handful of wickets with his off breaks. Hopefully Ishant Sharma can get his first wicket of the series in this match. It will be interesting to see how tackle the issue of run restriction after Australia managed to score so much on a rather dead pitch.
The Australians on the other hand have an interesting problem at the selection table. They have a tough decision to make of keeping the same winning team together or forcing a change with Shaun Marsh struggling to find form in the first test. Figures of 16 and 0 aren’t pretty, but India’s effort proves he wasn’t alone in the struggle on a substandard pitch. The option to give Usman Khawaja a return will be tempting, especially amongst cricket fans and social media, but I expect Marsh to keep his spot for this test. There is always the outside chance of Ashton Agar getting a crack too.
While Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon will continue to work in tandem as the spinning duo after their brilliant efforts in the first test. O’Keefe’s match figures of 12/70 were simply incredible and no doubt his confidence will be bolstered. Mitchell Starc will continue to get bounce out of any pitch and work tirelessly.
Bangalore isn’t exactly a safe ground for India either, with a 50% win rate at the venue. Reports suggest Bangalore will deliver a flatter wicket which should get a result. The Indians must come back from their embarrassing loss in Pune and that should make game one to watch. Expect a bit of fireworks from both teams; maybe not from the pitch.