Arguably the biggest test awaits India in recent history at Melbourne, Australia’s most iconic Test venue.
India square off against Australia in the second Test in Melbourne from Saturday, ready to bounce back after hitting the nadir of 36.
India will be playing at the venue where they have the best record (relatively speaking) in Australia. It is at MCG that India clinched the series last time around, thanks to a spectacular bowling effort lead by Jasprit Bumrah. It is at MCG that India have won the most matches Down Under.
Shubman Gill has a massive chance to repay his team’s leap of faith in him when he makes his Test debut.
Likewise, young workhorse Mohammed Siraj will step in to fill the void created by crafty Mohammed Shami’s injury.
Gill’s opening partner Mayank Agarwal would be wanting to do an encore, if not better, of his performance at a venue where he made his Test debut.
Cheteshwar Pujara can play his natural doggedly defensive game and India will hope he can tire the bowlers out. In the absence of Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav will have to perform.
Similarly, Rishabh Pant, whose intent always provides way more assurance than a passive Wriddhiman Saha, is expected to play his fearless brand of cricket which is the need of the hour.
Ravindra Jadeja, who has recovered fully from his concussion and hamstring injury, will add a new dimension in a five-bowler set-up.
India had won at MCG last time around and Rahane reckons the wicket will be a bit different this time.
An unchanged Australia XI that is expected to play at the MCG will not take its foot off the pedal, skipper Tim Paine insisted.
The match starts at 5 am IST (toss at 4.30 am) and will be broadcast on Sony Sports Pictures Network