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India vs Australia test series got off to a thrilling start as the first test went down to the wire. India recorded just its 6th victory on Australian soil to go 1-0 up in the series. This was also the first time that India has won the first test of a series in Australia.
The home side put up a fantastic fight and did much better than was actually expected of it. Australia would be crushed at having lost the first test of its home summer. This has happened just two times prior to this occurrence in the history of Australian cricket.
Now, the test series between India and Australia moves to Perth for the second test. The New Perth Stadium will be hosting the test match on a track which is expected to make cricket lovers reminisce about the old WACA pitch.
Can India hold on or even extend its lead? Can Australia fight back at a ground that should be much more suited to its strengths? Everything points to an intriguing second test of the Australia vs India test series.
It seems so far back now that Australia seemed to have taken the decisive advantage against India at lunch on Day 1 of the first test. The India top-order had committed hara-kiri and Australia could have rolled over the visitors for a small total.
That is the point from where the Aussies began to fall behind in the match. They failed to get Cheteshwar Pujara out and leaked a bit too many runs to the lower half. The Aussie batting in the first stint was terrible.
All of their top-order batters played regrettable shots. The second inning of the first test was better in terms of batting performance with gutsy fights but the bowling was lackluster. It was the Indian lower order that played terrible shots rather than the Aussie bowlers which created too many chances.
Nathan Lyon was the exception to that statement, though, as he bowled brilliantly throughout the test.
Where does Australia go from here?
The New Perth Stadium has offered up frighteningly fast pitches in the past. Australia and South Africa played an ODI on the 4th of November this year and the ball was absolutely flying. If we have anything similar to that for this test match then the Aussie pacers could be a very difficult proposition to face.
Mitchell Starc copped some flack for his performance in this match. He was clearly not at his best and also sent down a lot of overs. Unless there is some injury stopping him, we don’t think he is going to be dropped for the Perth Test between Australia and India.
The biggest threat to India in our opinion is going to come from Josh Hazelwood. His control of the length makes him likely to bowl that full length so crucial in Perth. He also gets any movement that is on offer.
Pat Cummins can get some disconcerting bounce from a length and will be difficult to face as well. The conditions in Adelaide were flat and slow. Not the ideal for a world-class Aussie attack up against a very talented Indian batting lineup.
Don’t count them out in Perth, though.
The Aussie batting is more vulnerable. Aaron Finch has not done anything to cement his position at the top, Usman Khawaja has seemed lost against Ashwin, Handscomb was unconvincing, and Marcus Harris is inexperienced. Shaun Marsh looked good in the second inning, Travis Head got some runs, and Paine stuck around but this Australia batting is going to need the support of its lower order throughout this series.
Australian batsmen will also be wary of an Indian attack that can give as good as it gets on a spicy pitch.
Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, TM Head, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Michael Lyon, JR Hazlewood.
2018 has been a year where the Indian side played almost all of its test cricket abroad. The series against South Africa was close and India competed against England as well but it is the scoreline that matters in the end.
It seemed that India was too keen to be called the best touring side in the world or the best ever Indian side or for other plaudits that it had not quite earned. This time in Australia, though, the first test showed that India has learned from its mistakes.
They were lucky to win the toss and get the better of the conditions but they were genuinely the better side in this contest. After the first session of the first day, India was constantly ahead of Australia without ever running away with the game completely.
The batsmen showed rare application in the second inning, the bowlers continued to toil away in difficult conditions, and the fielders did their part for most of the time as well. Now, going with a 1-0 lead in Perth, India will be confident of continuing its success.
For one thing, India has a pace attack to trouble the best in the world. Give them helpful bowling conditions and they become near unplayable. South Africa gave them such an opportunity at the Wanderers and ended up losing this year. England too prepared some green seamers to find their batting blown away.
India can do the same to Australia as well. The biggest question ahead of India will be the fitness of its seamers. They bowled a huge amount of overs in the first test. Will India look to rotate one of their seamers for Perth? Can Ashwin be dropped for an all-pace attack?
Personally, while both those possibilities exist, we don’t think India will make any drastic change from the first test against Australia. There has been some news about Prithvi Shaw recovering faster than expected but he is not going to play this match for sure.
The onus of winning in Perth goes to the batsmen. It was great news for India to see Pujara and Rahane score crucial runs. Both of them have the game to succeed in Perth as well. Kohli will have to a bit careful around the off stump because any edge will fly to the cordon. The opening pair of Rahul and Vijay will gain confidence from the second test and hopefully not throw away their wicket this time around.
India cannot afford to sit back and absorb the pressure against Australia now that they are 1-0 up. The Australia vs India test series is going to be a result-oriented one and playing for the win is the only option.
Lokesh Rahul, M Vijay, V Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, H Vihari, RR Pant, I Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, JJ Bumrah.
The toss is going to be very important. The team winning the toss is likely to bat first because the pitch can develop some deep cracks as the game goes on.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The pitch at the New Perth Stadium is very quick. It is full of bounce and will test all the players in new ways. The batsmen will have to find a way to score in areas they may not always be the most comfortable while the bowlers will have to adjust to the new lengths.
We highly recommend watching highlights of the Australia vs South Africa ODI match played here in November for a taste of what we can expect.
The weather is expected to be hot, dry, and excellent for cricket.
India has won tests in South Africa, England, and now in Australia this year. They have been at their most effective in conditions which have helped the bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah was the fastest bowler in the first test on both sides and adjust to different conditions quickly. The bowling of both sides is very good but Australia pips that contest just a little thanks to its trio of fast bowlers.
We believe India’s batting is better than Australia even in these conditions. Australia has a more capable tail but India’s top order can score a lot more runs.
An evenly matched contest where starting strong will be necessary seems likely. We think India could win its second match in a row and create history.
Back India to win.
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