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IND vs AUS 2020: Can India pull of an encore of their Dec 2018 win at the MCG?

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Jasprit Bumrah registered 9/86 in the 3rd Test of Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2018.
Jasprit Bumrah registered 9/86 in the 3rd Test of Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2018. (Image Source: Twitter)

After being handed one of the worst defeats in Test Cricket by Australia in the first Test in Adelaide. The Indian Cricket Team will look to make amends in the 2nd Test which also the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India after being bundled off to their lowest ever Test score of 36 runs in their 2nd innings, Australia continues to stay unbeaten in pink-ball Test to take a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

India went 2-1 up to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2018:

India had one of the dream Test series the previous time around when they were in Australia. With the bat, the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli were the ones who set the tempo for their side. Pujara in the 1st innings scored a century whereas the Indian skipper scored 82 runs.

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Cheteshwar Pujara scored 106 runs in the first innings at MCG in 2018. (Image Source: Twitter)

Towards the end, Rohit Sharma who came down the order played a handy knock of 63* runs and helped India score a mammoth total of 443/7d. In that test match, Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers as he registered a 6 wicket hall in the 1st innings and finished with a total of 9 wickets. With that win over the Aussies, India were able to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Challenges that India face going forward into the series:

Trouble seems to loom around the Indian Cricket team as the 1st Test highlighted concerns with regards to flaws in the batting techniques. On top of that, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli will not be part of the remainder of the series as he heads back home. In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side for the 3 Tests.

Rohit Sharma who is currently in complete isolation in Sydney will definitely not be included in the Boxing Day Test, reports suggest he is likely to start training from 3rd January 2021. As the new COVID-19 Strain issue have surfaced in Sydney it is still not confirmed if he will be shifted from there.

To rub salt on the wounded Indian Cricket Team, they have suffered yet another blow as they will be missing out on the services from ace bowler Mohammed Shami. Shami has been ruled out of the remainder of the Australia Test series as he fractured his right arm while tackling a short-ball from Pat Cummins in the pink-ball Test.

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Mohammed Shami was struck a blow on his bowling arm in the Adelaide Test. (Image Source; Twitter)

What are the likely scenarios for India in Border-Gavaskar trophy 2020?

Prithvi Shaw who had a horrifying Test match might most likely be replaced. Shubman Gill who showed more stability in the practices matches may be handed a maiden Test cap.

As to fill the big void that skipper Virat Kohli leaves, management might look to play in KL Rahul for the 2nd Test as well. It will be interesting to see who between and Gill and Rahul may open the batting for India.

Wriddhiman Saha the wicketkeeper-batsman also failed to impress in the pink-ball game. He might be replaced by the southpaw Rishab Pant who also batted well in the practices matches in Sydney.

On the bowling front, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj may also be in line to make their red-ball debut for the country.

It is surely going to be a test of the Indian Cricket team’s Character moving forward. In Kohli’s absence, there is no-one who can pick them back up after a crushing defeat said Ricky Pointing.

Australia on the other hand have a firm and a settled line-up. Joe Burns cements his place as the opener after playing an unbeaten knock, hitting the winning runs in the 2nd innings of the 1st Test. Although, the availability of David Warner for the Boxing Day Test is still uncertain.

IND VS AUS 2020, 2nd Test: Predicted playing XIs of India and Australia

India’s predicted playing XI for the 2nd Test: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini

Australia’s predicted playing XI for the 2nd Test: Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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