India created history at the Adelaide Oval as they beat Australia by 31 runs in the first Test of the ongoing four-match series. With this, India won their first match on Australian soil after a decade and Virat Kohli became the first Asian captain to win a Test match in England, South Africa and Australia.
It was a complete team performance by the Indians as they had the Australians under pressure throughout after getting off to a disastrous start on day 1. Going into the second Test that gets underway at the Optus Stadium in Perth on December 14, India will be looking to address a few things.
Let us take a look at the playing XI that is likely to take the field in Perth in a few days’ time. KL Rahul and Murali Vijay
After falling cheaply in the first innings of the Adelaide Test, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul gave India a good start in the second innings as they saw of the new ball and stayed together for 18 overs in which they scored around 60 runs.
KL Rahul, in particular, took the attack to the Aussie bowlers after weathering the early storm as he played some magnificent strokes. He tried to play one shot too many as he ended up edging the ball to Tim Paine when he tried to smash Josh Hazlewood over mid-off after making a stroke-filled 44.
Vijay, on the other hand, looked far from his best as he kept poking outside his off-stump more often than not. He will look to work on this aspect which helped him taste a lot of success in the past. But, he will be happy to get some runs under his belt before he edged one to the slip cordon for 18.
With Prithvi Shaw racing against time to play the second Test, the team management might not rush him into the playing XI and give him enough time to recover so that he regains full fitness going into the Boxing Day Test.
Without a doubt, the architect of India’s historic win in the first Test at Adelaide was Cheteshwar Pujara, as he played out of his skin in both the innings and helped India beat the hosts. While the batsmen around him threw their wickets away in the first innings, Pujara stayed calm and ensured that he took India to a good position with a defiant century. In the second innings, his 71 was very crucial in India setting the Aussies a target of over 300.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli managed to score just 37 runs in the first Test, something that can be termed as a failure for the best batsman in the world right now because such are the standards he has set for himself. However, he won’t mind this as the team went on to register a win. But, he will be keen to perform well in the second Test in Perth and make his presence felt.
After a dismal start to the Australian tour in which he threw his wicket away by going after a really wide delivery, just to offer Peter Handscomb a simple catch for just 13, Ajinkya Rahane showed everyone why he is one of India’s best overseas batsmen in the format as he scored a stroke-filled 70 in the second innings to give India the advantage. The way he played in the second essay was enough to say that the Rahane, the Test batsman, is well and truly back.
A lot of eyebrows were raised when Rohit Sharma was picked in the playing XI ahead of Hanuma Vihari for the first Test. In the first innings, Rohit was looking good while batting on 37 when he decided to do throw his wicket away after getting a start. In the second innings, Nathan Lyon dismissed him for just 1, which puts his place in the side under threat.
Vihari has done nothing wrong to be benched for Rohit but the team management could give Rohit one more match before dropping him. If they decide to go for a batsman who can bowl a few overs when needed, they might opt for Vihari in the XI but that looks unlikely.
Rishabh Pant, who scored 25 and 28 in the Test, was receiving a lot of criticism for the way he got out in the second innings of the first Test after scoring 28 off just 16 balls, that took India’s lead close to 300 in quick time.
Yet, he did the job by getting quick runs and gave India some more overs in their kitty in the fourth innings. With the gloves, even though he dropped a catch to give Nathan Lyon a life in the second innings, he took six catches in the first innings and followed it up with five in the second.
R Ashwin was one of the heroes in the Adelaide Test as he not only contributed with the ball but also with the bat as he scored a crucial 25 in the first innings and shared a 62-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara. With the ball, he followed his three-wicket haul in the first innings with another three-wicket haul in the second.
Ishant Sharma got things underway for India in the first innings as he sent back Aaron Finch in the first over for nought and almost repeated that in the second innings but he overstepped when he had Finch in his kitty. He kept the pressure from one end and ended up picking three wickets in the match.
Jasprit Bumrah took his time at the start of the first innings as he conceded 24 runs in his first five overs. But, the moment he got his eye in, there was just one-way traffic as he bowled six consecutive maidens, kept bowling tight lines, piled up the pressure and ended up taking three wickets. In the second innings, he started on a positive note and picked six.
Mohammed Shami gave away some easy runs in the first innings before he returned to clean up the Aussie tail on the morning of day three to give India a 15-run lead. In the second innings, he started off brightly as he had Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb early in his spell and put the pressure on Aussies.
Eventually, he ended with five wickets in the match.
Source : Sportskeeda