On the eve of the Boxing Day Test, India’s side has been announced as was the first Test.
There are four changes to the side, as India has struggled with injuries and losses in form while their captain also goes home on paternity leave.
Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj are debuting for India at the Melbourne Cricket ground.
They are India’s latest debutants at a Boxing Day Test after Mayank Agarwal made his debut in 2018, on the same occasion.
Shubman Gill takes Prithvi Shaw’s place at the top of the order, while Mohammad Siraj replaces Mohammad Shami.
The third change is the wicket-keeper.
With the ball doing more in a pink-ball Test, Wriddhiman Saha was picked ahead of Rishabh Pant.
The Test was Saha’s first overseas Test in a while.
He is India’s regular wicket-keeper at home but sits out when India tour.
With Pant returning, Saha’s overseas return to Test Cricket is a short-lived experience as he finds himself on the bench after one Test.
With the batting looking light after Kohli’s departure, and the selection of an extra bowler, the side would have leaned towards Pant in the hope of
playing a better batsman rather than the better keeper.
Prithvi Shaw has played five Tests, with an average of 42.
He is a promising talent and has shown his abilities in a brief stint with the side.
Playing in testing conditions, and after an average year in other formats, Shaw is now out of the side.
The management has backed him, but he is given a break with specific points to work on in his technique.
Mohammad Siraj was competing with Navdeep Saini for the vacant spot created by Mohammad Shami.
Both are talented bowlers and possess a good set of skills.
Navdeep Saini is a raw pace bowler who can extract good bounce on hard surfaces, while Siraj has been apart of many tours with India A.
Having been a part of many A tours, Siraj has the experience of bowling overseas and is also a fantastic domestic bowler.
With good performances in the warm-up games, Siraj finds himself in the eleven ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Navdeep Saini.
The fourth change is a bold and exciting move.
Ravindra Jadeja comes in place of Virat Kohli and will be batting at number six or seven.
The move is interesting as a bowling all-rounder comes in place of one of India’s best batsman.
With Mohammad Shami injured, and India playing a debutant pacer, Jadeja’s inclusion could provide cushion to the bowling attack.
Coming in place of a pure batsman may make the batting look weaker.
Despite the batting looking light, the risk may be worth taking as it provides India with an extra bowler.
They are having Ravindra Jadeja as the extra bowler is a further boost.
Ravindra Jadeja has been improving with the bat always over the last few years.
He is terrific at declaration batting and has made some nice half-centuries in various parts of the World.
He has not gotten too many opportunities at number six, but a player with three triple centuries in first-class Cricket does look a promising option.
Ravindra Jadeja has grown into a magnificent player in recent times and is one of the best Test spinners in the World, after Nathan Lyon and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja seems to have recovered from the concussion and hamstring injury he obtained in the first T20.
He has been bowling well in the nets and looks prepared for a comeback.
His inclusion marks the second occasion in which India plays Ashwin and Jadeja together in an overseas Test.
The previous occasion of both spinners playing together was back in 2014, at Old Trafford.
India went with two spinners in Sydney last time, with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja bowling together.
Playing two spinners overseas is a rare sight, and India has often been left to choose between Ashwin or Jadeja.
India’s last time playing two spinners at the MCG was back in 2007-2008 when Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were in the squad together.
With five bowling options and two good spinners, India’s bowling attack looks promising despite the injuries.
There is some experience, but a lot depends on how the debutant performs.
Making a Test debut in Australia is never easy, and many careers have drifted away after a stint in Australia.
India can only hope Mohammad Siraj performs well.
The second Test is also the first time Jasprit Bumrah takes up the lead bowler role.
In the past, he had Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami supporting him.
With both absent, he is now the leader of the pack.
Umesh Yadav is the most experienced member, but as he is not a regular anymore, the role of attack leader falls on Jasprit Bumrah.
In a series of firsts, this is the first time India will hand out two or more debuts in overseas Tests.
In West Indies, 2011, Virat Kohli, Abhinav Mukund, and Praveen Kumar made their Test debuts.
The last time India made four changes to their side was back in 2014 when MS Dhoni retired after the third game of a Test series.
With David Warner still injured, Australia look set to play the same eleven, although no announcement has been made yet.
- Shubman Gill
- Mayank Agarwal
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- Hanuma Vihari
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Rishabh Pant
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Umesh Yadav
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Mohammad Siraj