Ravi Ashwin took 12 wickets in the 1st Test. Source: Aijaz Rahi/AAP
After completely outplaying Australia in Chennai, India will be confident of taking an unassailable 2-0 series lead when the 2nd Test between the sides starts in Hyderabad on Saturday. The tourists attack lacked penetration on a wicket that offered plenty for the bowlers, while the batting unit look completely clueless against the spinners, losing all 20 wickets to the slow men and they clearly have a lot of work to do if they are going to get back into the series.
Given the manner of their win in the series opener, the hosts are likely to serve up another slow and low pitch on the weekend to bring their spinners to the fore once again. Ravi Ashwin was unlucky not to be named man of the match after collecting 12 wickets at his home ground, while Ravi Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh also had their moments. India went into two of its last three Test matches at the end of 2012 with just one fast bowler and could revert to the same tactics here, with Pragyan Ojha in line for a recall at the expense of Chennai debutant Bhuvenshwar Kumar, who didn’t bowl a ball in the second innings.
Sachin Tendulkar made a pleasing return to form with 81 in the first innings, while Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni showed there were no real demons in the pitch with classy tons, the latter blasting his way to a Test best 224.
Coach Mickey Arthur is likely to make changes to the Australian side, with the bowling attack the major point of contention. The problem for Arthur and skipper Michael Clarke is that their best bowlers are pacemen but sub continental pitches are much better suited to the tweakers. Nathan Lyon was the sole spinner picked for the tourists in Chennai but could be joined in the XI by Xavier Doherty for the next match. If Doherty does win a recall, Mitchell Starc could be the man to make way after failing to collect a wicket in the series opener. James Pattinson was the only bower to really impress, leading the attack admirably and collecting a ‘five-for’ in the first innings.
Moises Henriques made a memorable debut with back-to-back half centuries and also took a wicket, to be one of only a few players to have been up to scratch in the 1st Test. Michael Clarke scored his fourth Test ton in as many months, but the other batsman failed to convert their starts into big scores. Ed Cowan , David Warner and Shane Watson all reached double figures in both innings but failed to go on with it, something that you have to do after getting ‘in’ on the subcontinent.
This will be the third Test match played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium and the hosts are yet to lose there. After playing out a draw with New Zealand at the ground in 2010, India scored a comprehensive win by an innings and 115 runs against the same opponent inside four days last year.
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