India was all over the place in the first test and the way they lost the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, it would leave them contorting in agony for ages to come. Despite a resonating comeback from the bowlers, the batsmen could not mount any significant resistance and chronicled the lowest total in the history of tests for India in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
In the first innings of the Test, India did suffer a batting fiasco as they were bundled out for 244. Thanks to obduracy from Kohli, Rahane, and Pujara that India could manage to claw their way out of the rubble. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins hurt India the most as they shared seven wickets between themselves. The pace and the swing were too much for the Indian batters to handle and Starc is menacing in his top form.
Much to the woes of India, when they came out to bat in the second innings they couldn’t even last for 25 overs and were skittled out for a paltry 36 that saw Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood reduce India to a mere house of cards in front of a running express train.
The Indian batters were barely accustomed to the swing and the bounce and that cost them dearly. That extra bit of movement around the Corridor of Uncertainty was overwhelming for the Indian batters and the Australian fast bowlers ensured the fact that they made the visitors pay dearly for this glaring chink in their armour.
We will look at three players who must be replaced in the second test if India wants to chronicle a comeback in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
- Shubman Gill in for Prithvi Shaw
Shubman Gill is a fine batsman of the short balls, a delivery that troubles the best of batsmen. With Australia banking heavily on pace, Gill can be an excellent negotiator until the ball wears off, and he can allow other batsmen to be comfortable without the run rate going to sleep.
His performances in the first-class games were highly impressive and his shot-selection is what seemed a lot more convincing for him to be included in the batting line-up. Prithvi Shaw is a decent batsman and loves to attack the bowlers too, but his heroics with the blade has mainly been in the sub-continent where the pitches are flat and extremely easy for the batsmen to play.
The only good knock that he has played away from home has been at Christchurch where he went on to score a decent 54 in the first innings. The way Starc and Cummins exposed Shaw was too brutal for the youngster to assimilate. Until the ball remains in a straight line, he is a good hitter of the ball. However, any movement on the ball or some extra bounce on the cherry makes him extremely uncomfortable. In the process of attacking the ball on the front foot, he ends up either nicking it to the slip or dragging it back to the timbre. Adelaide is still deemed as a better batting pitch than the ones to come.
Gill, on the contrary, can get on top of the balls and has an ice-cold temperament that doesn’t let the pressure to mount on him. When the ball is new, and it is moving, he can nullify the initial threat by letting them go. These are small tactics that Shaw needs to learn in order to emerge as the opener that India needs.
- Rohit Sharma in for Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal has had a sublime start to his Test career that saw him blasting 77 and 42 in his first test at Melbourne and 77 at Sydney. He followed it up with a few screaming knocks but most of it came at home.
Agarwal will have things difficult this time because a lot of expectations have been pinned on to him after some great knocks in IPL. Also, the fact that he is bothered way too frequently by bouncers will give the Australian trifecta a chance to grab him early by the scruff of his neck.
Rohit Sharma, on the contrary, is an excellent player of bouncers as his main strength is the exhilarating pull that he executes with clinical perfection. Now, given the stature of the Australian fast bowling troika, Rohit Sharma will be a better choice for the opening slot as he is an aggressive batsman, and he will counter Australia’s pace with a few strokes of his own.
Once hammered against the best weapon in their kitty, the Australians will have to take a step back in order to ensure that they are getting things more in line instead of kissing the deck hard and short in Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
- KL Rahul in for Hanuma Vihari
It is very rare that we have seen Hanuma Vihari rolling his arm. He is a finisher going by his position, and it is very rare that we have seen him spending time with the tail. He comes out mainly in the position that one of India’s most celebrated batsmen used to come out, VVS Laxman. Yet, he stays in his own sweet world, playing strokes that at times seem extremely unnecessary.
Given the fact that he hardly balls, India can opt for an extra batsman in KL Rahul. With the kind of form Rahul is in, he will make a significant difference in the side. He is an attacking batsman and with the experience that he has in his repertoire, he can inflict some serious damage upon the Australian bowlers. Three batsmen in the Indian team can change the complexion of the series, considering the fact that India is already doing a decent job in the bowling department.