Australia v India – Second Test preview: A week is a long time




A week is a long time…


Leading into the First Test in Adelaide, Australia’s cricket selectors had a tough time working out a team due to injuries, lack of form and a desire to find some sort of team balance. By contrast, India was in the comfortable position of being in pretty decent form with an almost full squad from which to choose.


Approaching the Second Test at the MCG on Saturday, the relative positions of the two teams has been turned on its head. Although still unlikely to have David Warner or Will Pucovski available, the victorious Australians are in the position of being able to go into the game with an unchanged eleven, even if the constitution of the batting line-up remains somewhat underwhelming. Can the openers go on from where they left off in the second innings in Adelaide? Have the Indians got Labuschagne worked out? How crook is Smith’s back? Is Head in or out of form? Green, after just one Test, remains just that – green – at this level. Thank goodness the keeper and his marvellous bowling quartet are at the top of their respective games. The bowlers should be fresh and raring to go. Will Paine, if he wins the toss, even contemplate sending India in to try to exploit the lingering scars of Adelaide?


By contrast, India is in a diabolical situation. Kohli has gone home, Shami has a broken arm, Shaw and Vihari look suspect, and Saha had a poor game. Agarwal, Pujara and Rahane were not fully convincing. Only Bumrah and Ashwin came out of Adelaide with their individual reputations intact. But the big question is to what extent the mental effects will haunt them, from being in the box seat at 10.00pm on Friday night to smashed, humiliated and demoralised by 4.00pm on Saturday afternoon – that’s got to have ongoing implications. No doubt we’ll have to wait until the toss on Saturday morning to find out their final line-up but expect at least 3 or 4 changes, maybe even more.


We may end up with a whitewash summer. But India doesn’t sit near the top of the world Test ratings for nothing. They may be badly down at this particular moment but there’s only one way for them from here – up! The Aussies have more in them, too, but we’ve also seen them ‘achieve’ scores of 47 and 60 in the last decade. I’m not getting too cocky just yet.


After all, a week is a long time…


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  1. You’d think that all the signs/omens/portents point to an Aussie summer romp after the eventual shellacking we saw in Adelaide. But cricket’s a funny old game and holds its own variations of footy’s equivalent in the vagaries of the bounce of an oblong ball. I, too, have concerns about the Australian batting list.

  2. Well said Ian. I remember all too well footy games your team is supposed to win only to cop a hiding. In ’97 the experts , after about 7 or 8 games declared no one would beat the Crows. Guess what, the very next week North Melbourne kicked, I think, something like 10 goals to zip against the Crows in the first quarter and went on to win rather convincingly. In sport there are so many variables to take into account that nothing really is a sure bet. Australia cannot afford to take India lightly or they will pay the price. Plenty of batting improvement needed.

  3. Liam Hauser says

    There’s always many variables and possibilities. Throughout a Test match, there’s often many turning points. Any of them has the capacity to change the entire course of the match.
    Had Virat Kohli not been run out at a critical time, India could have tallied much more than 244 in the first innings of the Adelaide Test. Just as decisively, Australia’s first innings total of 191 could have been far less had Marnus Labuschagne not been reprieved 3 times before he reached 20.
    The Test would surely have had a vastly different flavour and outcome if India had a first innings lead of 100+, rather than 53, particularly with Australia’s suspect batting line-up. Still, Australia could have been vulnerable in its second innings had the target been 150+. Batsmen other than Smith and Labuschagne need to do more to consolidate their spot in the team.

  4. India has started this test well; Australia 3 for not many including two blobs. 9th Boxing Day test between these two nations, the first being in the summer of 1985-86.

    In that inaugural encounter the first wicket to go was David Boon, dismissed by Ravi Shastri. Both chaps still involved in the game. Australia snuck out with a draw, AB scoring an undefeated ton, with good support from the tail. The rain also knocked a few hours off that final day.

    It was an interesting series with all three tests drawn. The Australian team weakened by a large chunk of the playing group taking the ‘filthy lucre’ to tour the Veldt were pretty much just AB, with a supporting cast of young players, many who became part of the great side from the 90’s. Steve Waugh, Merv Hughes, were just two debuting in that series.


  5. After the first 2 days of the pink ball test, India was in the box seat. After day 1 of the Boxing Day Test, India is in the box seat. Brilliant bowling, fielding and captaincy from India compared to woeful batting from the Aussies has once again exposed the local side. It now remains to see if Australia’s bowlers can once again turn this test on its head.Only time will tell. Meanwhile,Smith’s lack of form must be giving the selectors a huge headache

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