India are without captain Virat Kohli as they bid to bounce back in the Boxing Day Test
India will be without captain Virat Kohli as they bid to bounce back from their humbling eight-wicket defeat in Adelaide when they take on Australia in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Kohli has returned home ahead of the birth of his child, and he will also miss the final two Tests in Sydney and Brisbane – with Ajinkya Rahane leading the side in his absence.
India were skittled for just 36 in the second innings in Adelaide – their lowest-ever Test score and the fifth-lowest in Test history.
They boasted a first-innings lead of 53 runs, but an extraordinary capitulation on day three saw the tourists lose their last eight wickets during a frenetic 10-over spell.
- MCG on standby for third Test; Sydney still preferred
- Smith: Boxing Day Test sends shivers down your spine
Josh Hazelwood (5-8) and Pat Cummins (4-21) produced blistering spells to rip through the visitors’ batting line-up, but Kohli was critical of his side’s mentality as they disintegrated in startling fashion.
“You can make all the team plans you want, it is more important what the mindset of the individuals taking the field is,” said the 32-year-old.
“Individuals need to have the right mindset in these critical moments and take the game forward. That is how you move towards winning.
“If your mindset is not right, like ours wasn’t, when we lacked in intent, the opposition can sense it and put you under extreme pressure. That is exactly what happened.”
Having slipped to 19-6 at one stage, the tourists avoided the indignity of posting the lowest score in Test history, although that provided scant consolation.
Despite this, Kohli believes his side are more than capable of reviving their fortunes and defending the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which they claimed courtesy of a 2-1 victory in Australia two years ago.
“This is Test cricket and anything can happen at any stage. A few of the guys are going to realise their true characters and how they can step up for the side. I’m very confident that we will learn from this,” Kohli added.
“I don’t think we have ever had a worse batting collapse than this. It can only go up from here. I’m sure we will bounce back strongly in the next Test, there is no doubt about that.”
However, India were a dealt a further blow earlier in the week, when it was revealed that Mohammed Shami had been ruled out of the remainder of the four-match series through injury.
The fast-bowler was struck on the right forearm by Cummins after fending at a short-pitched delivery during India’s second innings, and scans have revealed he has suffered a fracture.
- Burns: Australia have ‘opened scars’ for India
- 36 all out! The chaos in numbers and tweets
Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj are vying to replace the experienced seamer, while KL Rahul and Shubman Gill are both candidates to feature in place of Kohli, with opener Prithvi Shaw’s place also under threat.
The hosts are expected to be unchanged for the Boxing Day Test, as David Warner remains sidelined with the groin injury he sustained during last month’s ODI series.
This will provide the new-look pairing of Joe Burns and Matthew Wade with another opportunity to establish themselves in Australia’s top order, while Steve Smith is looking to continue his remarkable record at the MCG.
Smith averages 113.50 in Test matches in Melbourne, compiling four centuries and three other scores over 50 in seven games dating back to 2010.
The 31-year-old is relishing the prospect of performing in front of 30,000 spectators in Melbourne, with fans set to be welcomed back to the MCG for the first time since March.
“As a kid I always wanted to play in a Boxing Day Test match,” Smith admitted.
“There’s nothing like the sort of thrill – you get the shivers down your spine when you walk out to bat on Boxing Day, the hairs on the back of your neck rise up. It’s just a great feeling.
“The crowd yelling, it’s sort of like a dream come true in a way. I like batting at the MCG, those sorts of big occasions. I’d like to try and make the most of them and help the team out.”
Source: Read Full Article