Jasprit Bumrah's menace was matched by Ravichandran Ashwin's guile as an inspired India led by Ajinkya Rahane shot out Australia for a sub-par 195 to dominate the opening day of the second Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday. India then lost an out-of-form Mayank Agarwal (0) to Mitchell Starc but debutant Shubman Gill (28 batting) survived a hostile spell to hit some delectable boundaries in the day end score of 36 for 1 in 11 overs. Giving him company was the seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara (7 batting). As much as the day belonged to the Indian bowling unit for another fired-up show, new captain Rahane deserved equal credit for marshalling his resources to perfection during the 72.3 overs that Australia batted. Bumrah (4/56 in 16 overs) and Ashwin (3/35 in 24 overs) were the stars but debutant Mohammed Siraj (2/40 in 15 overs) also did his bit repaying the faith shown in him with wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Cameron Green (12) with the old ball. However, the Test series is increasingly looking like Ashwin's paradise as he once again made the opposition's best batsman Steve Smith (0) look ordinary, exploiting the turn and bounce that the first day of the MCG track offered. Catch Day 1 highlights of India vs Australia second Test here. (SCORECARD | DAY 1 REPORT | NEWS)
IND Innings; AUS - 195 | Toss - AUS
12:35 PM IST: Josh Hazlewood continued. A mix-up after Cheteshwar Pujara played the first ball towards point. But nothing untoward happened. And five dots to Shubman Gill as India avoid further damage after losing opener Mayank Agarwal. IND - 36/1 (11).
And that's all for today. India still trail by 159. Gill and Pujara are unbeaten on 28 off 38 and 7 off 23 respectively.
12:33 PM IST: Elsewhere, New Zealand have reached 222/3 at stumps on Day 1 of the first Test against Pakistan with captain Kane Williamson unbeaten on 94.
12:30 PM IST: Bowling change. Nathan Lyon on with his off-spin. Shubman Gill hit the third ball for a four. Beat the fielder at mid-off. The over started with a double. IND - 35/1 (10)
12:26 PM IST: Bowling change. Josh Hazlewood on. Tidy first over, and a huge shout for LBW against Cheteshwar Pujara off the third ball. Umpire and Aussie skipper Tim Paine not interested. A maiden.
12:22 PM IST: Pat Cummins on with his fourth over. Cheteshwar Pujara took a single off the first ball, then Shubman Gill timed the fourth ball for three runs. Matthew Wade almost touched the rope. IND - 28/1 (8)
12:18 PM IST: Mitchell Starc continued. Three dots then Shubman Gill pulled the fourth cautiously for a four. A dot, then a flick for second four of the over. IND - 23/1 (8)
12:13 PM IST: Pat Cummins on with his third over. Four dots, then a beautifully timed straight drive for a from Cheteshwar Pujara's blade. IND - 15/1 (6).
12:09 PM IST: Mitchell Starc continued. Shubman Gill hit the first ball for a four, through the covers. Timed. A couple of dots, then a couple. Then, another couple of dots. IND - 11/1 (5).
12:04 PM IST: Pat Cummins continued and Shubman Gill is dropped at third slip by Marnus Labuschagne off the last ball. Beginners' luck. Two balls before that, Gill hit a good-looking four his first Test runs and also to open India's account. IND - 4/1 (4).
11:59 AM IST: Mitchell Starc continued. And another maiden, this time to Cheteshwar Pujara. India still without a run after three overs.
11:54 AM IST: Cheteshwar Pujara joined Shubman Gill in the centre. Pat Cummins shared the new ball with Mitchell Starc, and maiden to Gill. IND - 0/1 (2).
11:50 AM IST: What an opening over from Mitchell Starc. Mayank Agarwal managed to negotiate the first few deliveries but got out LBW off the last over. Umpire's call. Ball clipping the off-stump. And India off to a disastrous start, once again.
11:42 AM IST: Players are back for the India innings. Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal to open for India, Mitchell Starc with the new ball.
11:40 AM IST: Still some 18 overs to be played today. Will be a testing time for the Indian openers, specially the debutant Shubman Gill.
An inspired Indian bowling unit, led by the menacing Jasprit Bumrah and the crafty Ravichandran Ashwin, steam-rolled Australia for a meagre 195. New captain Ajinkya Rahane had a great day in office as he marshalled his resources impressively with debutant Mohammed Siraj (2/40 in 15 overs) repaying the faith shown in him with wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Cameron Green (12) with the old ball. However, the Test series is increasingly looking like Ashwin's (3/35 in 24 overs) paradise as he once again made opposition's best batsman Steve Smith (0) look ordinary, exploiting the turn and bounce that the first day of the MCG track offered. Bumrah (4/56 in 16 overs) was bowling as if it was business as usual, beating the bat and getting those breakthroughs just when it mattered on a pitch that had retained moisture. As it turned out, Rahane didn't lose a bad toss.
11:33 AM IST: WICKET! Ravindra Jadeja got the final wicket, that of Pat Cummins. A skier, and caught by Mohammed Siraj. Cummins made 9 off 33. Australia dismissed for 195.
11:30 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his 16th over and crucial runs for Australia as Nathan Lyon hit the third and fourth balls for a six and four respectively. Then, Bumrah hit back. Trapped in front. Fingers raised, and decision reviewed by Australia. And umpire's call. Paul Reiffel. Lyon made 20 off 17. AUS - 191/9 (71.5).
11:24 AM IST: Ravindra Jadeja returned for his fifth over. Two singles from the over. His figures so far: 5-1-15-0. AUS - 179/8 (71)
11:18 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his 15th over. New man Nathan Lyon brilliantly timed the third ball for a four. AUS - 177/8 (70). 25 runs and three wickets in the last ten overs.
11:14 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with his 24th over. Pat Cummins hit the last ball for a four. Lofted over mid-wicket. AUS - 171/8 (69).
11:08 AM IST: Third wicket for Jasprit Bumrah. He had Mitchell Starc (7 off 8) caught at long leg by Mohammed Siraj. AUS - 164/8 (67.1)
11:06 AM IST: Another maiden for Ravichandran Ashwin. 20 runs and two wickets in the last ten overs.
11:03 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his 13th over. Mitchell Starc hit the fifth ball for a four to mid-on. In control. Eight runs from the over. AUS - 164/7 (66).
10:57 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. And another maiden, to Pat Cummins. His figures so far: 22-6-30-3.
10:54 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj bowling in tandem with Ravichandran Ashwin. A single off the third ball from his 15th over. AUS - 156/7 (64). Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are in the centre for Australia.
10:50 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with his 21st over, and massive wicket. He had Tim Paine caught at leg slip by Hanuma Vihari. Paine made 13 off 38. AUS - 155/7 (63)
10:44 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued. And second wicket for the pacer. He trapped Cameron Green in front. Given out. Aussies challenged the decision but in vain. Green made 12 off 60. AUS - 155/6 (61.4)
10:38 AM IST: Double figures for Cameron Green with a single off the third ball. He took 56 balls to score 10. Just that single from Ravichandran Ashwin's 20th over. AUS - 153/5 (61)
10:36 AM IST: 150 up for Australia with a thick edge going for four. Lucky Tim Paine, but Mohammed Siraj growing in confidence. That happened off the fifth ball. AUS - 152/5 (60). Australia added 18 runs in the last ten overs.
10:31 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. A shout for caught behind against Tim Paine. Ajinkya Rahane not keen. A single off the last ball. AUS - 145/5 (59).
10:27 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj returned for his 12th over. Another maiden. His figures so far: 12-4-30-1.
10:23 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with his 18th over. A single off the fourth. AUS - 144/5 (57).
10:21 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued. A maiden, his third, to Cameron Green. Australia added 13 runs in the last ten overs.
10:17 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. And a check for a run out against Tim Paine of the last ball at the striker's end. Very close call. Surely benefit of doubt saved the Aussie skipper. Contentious. AUS - 143/5 (55)
10:11 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj on with his tenth over. Three dots, then Tim Paine authoritatively pulled the fourth for a four. A single to rotate the strike. AUS - 141/5 (54).
10:07 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin resumed the proceedings and a maiden to Cameron Green.
10:04 AM: Players are back. One session to go...
9:47 AM IST: India continued to make inroads. Australia scored 71 runs, losing two wickets -- those of Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, with the latter becoming Mohammed Shami's maiden Test wicket.
9:45 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj in the middle of a good spell. He thought he had Cameron Green trapped, but the Aussie all-rounder is a giant of a man. Ajinkya Rahane refused to take the review. That happened off the first ball. A single off the fifth and Tea at MCG. AUS - 136/5 (52).
9:41 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with his 15th over. A single off the second ball, then Tim Paine blocked everything. AUS - 135/5 (51). In the previous over, Paine survived a review for LBW off the last ball. Umpires call and India retained the review. Just clipping the leg stump.
9:34 AM IST: First Test wicket for Mohammed Siraj courtesy fellow debutant Shubman Gill. Big wicket. Marnus Labuschagne caught at backward square leg. He made 48 off 132. AUS - 134/5 (49.3).
9:31 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. Marnus Labuschagne played the third ball through the covers and ran three. AUS - 134/4 (49). Australia have scored 27 runs losing one wicket in the last ten overs. Today's attendance at 'The G' is 25,666.
9:28 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj on with his seventh over and his first maiden, to Cameron Green.
9:24 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin returned. A quick single off the fifth after Cameron Green played it to cover. Just one from the over. AUS - 131/4 (47). Marnus Labuschagne still at 45.
9:21 AM IST: A barrage of bouncers from Jasprit Bumrah to Marnus Labuschagne after Cameron Green took a three off the second ball. Nice take behind the stumps by Rishabh Pant. AUS - 130/4 (46)
9:17 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued. A huge shout for LBW against Marnus Labuschagne off the last ball. Review not taken. Clearly going down the leg and enough bounce. Rishabh Pant was convinced. A maiden, nonetheless.
9:14 AM IST: Update from another Boxing Day Test
New Zealand's most prolific Test batting partnership again came to their rescue against Pakistan. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor built an unbroken stand of 115 for the third wicket which lifted New Zealand from 13/2 during the morning session to 128/2 at Tea. Taylor was 66 not out at the break and Williamson, poised to reach his 33rd half-century, was 49. Taylor's 34th test fifty was also his second-slowest in terms of balls faced, coming from 127 deliveries with eight boundaries. Williamson and Taylor have batted together more than 150 times in tests, accumulating more than 3,000 runs at an average in excess of 50.
9:13 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his 11th over. Two singles. His figures so far: 11-4-21-2. AUS - 127/4 (44). Marnus Labuschagne is one hit away from his fifty.
9:07 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued. A single off the fifth ball. Australia scored 43 runs in the last ten overs at a brisk pace but lost one wicket. AUS - 125/4 (43).
9:01 AM IST: Wicket! Jasprit Bumrah broke the 86-run stand by removing Travis Head (38 off 92). Brilliant catch at second slip by skipper Ajinkya Rahane. AUS - 124/4 (41.5).
Cameron Green joined Marnus Labuschagne in the centre.
8:55 AM IST: Umesh Yadav resumed after the Drinks break. Lucky thick edge off the second ball as Marnus Labuschagne got his fourth boundary. And he moved to 41 off 105 balls. AUS - 122/3 (41).
8:47 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah returned for his ninth over, and leaked ten runs. Two singles off the third and fourth balls, then Marnus Labuschagne hit the next two for fours. AUS - 117/3 (40).
8:41 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued. Three singles. AUS - 107/3 (39). His figures so far: 9-1-33-0.
8:37 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued, and more runs. Hundred up for Australia. Travis Head is slowly gaining confidence. He hit the second ball for a four. Seven from the over. He and Marnus Labuschagne have added 66 in 142 for the fourth wicket, including 37 in the last ten. AUS - 104/3 (38).
8:32 AM IST: Umesh Yadav on with his eighth over. Travis Head hit the second ball for a four, behind point. Lucky Head. AUS - 97/3 (37).
8:27 AM IST: Marnus Labuschagne is fine to continue. Two runs from the over. AUS - 92/3 (36).
8:20 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued. A dot than a nasty bouncer hit Marnus Labuschagne on the helmet, and a shout for catch. Aussie physio summoned. Mandatory concussion check.
8:18 AM IST: Umesh Yadav returned for his seventh over. A double off the second ball. Australia have added 36 runs in the last ten overs with Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head playing with extra caution. AUS - 90/3 (35).
8:12 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj on with his fourth over. And more runs for Australia as Marnus Labuschagne hit the last ball for a four through covers. Nine from the over. AUS - 88/3 (34).
8:07 AM IST: Another Ravichandran Ashwin over, and runs courtesy four byes off the first ball. Down the leg and it beat everyone. Five from the over. AUS - 79/3 (33).
8:04 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued. Nice rhythm. Lucky Travis Head. His defensive block off the fourth ball almost carried to Ajinkkya Rahane at gully. Two singles from the over. AUS - 74/3 (32).
7:59 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. Singles off the third, fifth and sixth balls. AUS - 72/3 (31). Marnus Labuschagne on 29 off 79 holds the key for Australia.
7:55 AM IST: Mohammed Siraj continued. A double off the fourth ball as Travis Head played through cover. AUS - 69/3 (30).
7:52 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with hos 10th over. A maiden. His figures so far: 10-2-17-2.
7:49 AM IST: Singles off the last two balls. AUS - 67/3 (28). Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head have added 29 runs in 82 balls for the fourth wicket.
7:43 AM IST: Players are back for the post-Lunch session. And debutant Mohammed Siraj to resume the proceedings.
7:29 AM IST: Meanwhile, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson have steadied the New Zealand innings against Pakistan.
7:24 AM IST: And don't miss this masterclass to send Steve Smith back for a duck. Watch!
7:16 AM IST: Here's a recap of the first session and brief scores
Australia reached 65 for 3 at Lunch against India on the opening day of the second Test. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (2/17 in 9 overs) was the most successful bowler, who once again dismissed Steve Smith (0) while Jasprit Bumrah (1/7 in 8 overs) was also among wickets. Marnus Labuschagne (26 batting, 65 balls) was at the crease in the company of Travis Head (4 batting, 37 balls).
Brief Scores: Australia 65/3 (Matthew Wade 30, Marnus Labuchagne 26 batting, R Ashwin 2/17, Jasprit Bumrah 1/7)
7:05 AM IST: And another one for Ravichandran Ashwin. Marnus Labuschagne trapped in front and massive appeal from Rishabh Pant. Given out. Reviewed. This time, the bounce saved. Ball bouncing over the leg stump. And Lunch. what a session for India. Aussies limped to Lunch at 'G'. AUS - 65/3 (27).
7:00 AM IST: One poor over from Ravindra Jadeja. Got hit for a four off the first ball, then a double, followed by a dot then three byes. A dot to end the 10-run over. 25 runs in the last ten overs as Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head look to rebuild the Aussie innings. AUS - 64/3 (26).
6:55 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin with his eighth over. And his first maiden, to Travis Head.
6:53 AM IST: Ravindra Jadeja continued. Marnus Labuschagne stood tall and played a sumptuous cut shot for a four off the second ball. AUS - 54/3 (24).
6:50 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued. Singles off the third and fourth deliveries and fifty for Australia.
6:47 AM IST: First maiden for Ravindra Jadeja, to Marnus Labuschagne.
6:45 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin continued to extract bounce. But Marnus Labuschagne upto to the challenge. After three dots, he hit the fourth for a four through the cover. Fine shot. AUS - 48/3 (21).
6:41 AM IST: Bowling change. Ravindra Jadeja on with his left-arm spin. Singles off the last two balls. AUS - 43/3 (20).
9:38 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin is toying with the Aussies. Travis Head survived a couple of close calls even as Indians considered taking the review for a caught behind. One run from the over. AUS - 41/3 (19).
6:34 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his eighth over. A maiden to Marnus Labuschagne.
6:30 AM IST: Ravichandran Ashwin on with his fourth over. A single off the second ball as Marnus Labuschagne played it to cover. AUS - 40/3 (17).
6:27 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah continued, and a review for LBW against Marnus Labuschagne, off the second ball. Height issue, and Paul Reiffel was right. Hitting on the back foot and it's climbing. A single off the over. AUS - 39/3 (16).
For basketball fans, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks face-off starts 6:30 AM IST. Here's what King James had said about the Christmas Day clash.
6:21 AM IST: Travis Head joined Marnus Labuschagne in the centre. And that was the first time Steve Smith has been dismissed in Test without scoring since 2016 in Perth.
6:18 AM IST: And what. Ravichandran Ashwin had Steve Smith caught at leg gully. Brilliant plan from India. Stunner. Brilliant captaincy and fine, fine catch by his deputy Cheteswhar Pujara. Smith out for eight-ball duck. AUS - 38/3 (14.3).
6:15 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah to Steve Smith, and maiden. Massive battle. MCG is Smith's home. He played his first Boxing Day Test 10 years ago at the 'G' and he has made it his own since then. His average here is 113.5.
6:10 AM IST: After the quick drinks, play resumed. Steven Smith joined Marnus Labuschagne in the centre.
6:07 AM IST: WICKET! Overconfidence. Matthew Wade tried to take on Ravichandran Ashwin, and paid the price. Almost a collision but Ravindra Jadeja safely completed the catch. AUS - 35/2 (12.5).
6:02 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued. Matthew Wade's dealing in three's. Another one off the first ball, then four dots to Marnus Labuschagne. A single to fine leg to end the over. AUS - 30/1 (12).
5:58 AM IST: Bowling change. Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin on. Ajinkya Rahane sure showing his eagerness. Ball and pitch still hard, and lot enough bounce to trouble the batsmen. Fine over. Just a single. AUS - 26/1 (11).
5:53 AM IST: Umesh Yadav on with his fifth over. Another three, off the second ball as Matthew Wade played a good looking cover drive. AUS - 25/1 (10).
5:48 AM IST: Marnus Labuschagne pulled the fifth ball for a double. Two runs from Jasprit Bumrah's fifth over. AUS - 22/1 (9).
5:44 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued. First maiden for him, to Matthew Wade. AUS - 20/1 (8).
5:40 AM IST: Jasprit Bumrah on with his fourth over. Matthew Wade in control, and played the third ball through mid-wicket for a three. AUS - 20/1 (7).
At Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand and Pakistan had taken Lunch after the Kiwis opted to bat first. The hosts were 55/2 (26) with Shaheen Afridi dismissing both the openers -- Tom Latham and Tom Blundell.
5:35 AM IST: Umesh Yadav on with his third over. Matthew Wade hit a crunching drive through the line for a four off the first ball. Two singles, then a couple of dots. A single to end the over. AUS - 17/1 (6).
5:30 AM IST: Marnus Labuschagne joined Matthew Wade in the centre. A maiden wicket.
5:26 AM IST: WICKET! Early breakthrough, deservedly, for India. Jasprit Bumrah had Joe Burns caught behind. Simple catch for Rishabh Pant. Burns made a ten-ball duck. AUS - 10/1 (4.2)
5:24 AM IST: Umesh Yadav continued, and a chance gone a-begging. Debutant Shubman Gill at second slip dropped Matthew Wade. Tough one, though. And Wade hit the next ball for a four. Fuller and punished. Six from the over. AUS - 10/0 (4).
5:19 AM IST: Another beauty of an over from Jasprit Bumrah. A single, off the fifth ball thanks to a misfield by skipper Ajinkya Rahane at gully. Then Joe Burns is beaten. Massive outswing from Bumrah. AUS - 4/0 (3).
5:15 AM IST: Umesh Yadav shared the new ball. Four dots, then Matthew Wade made a massive stride and hit the fifth ball to sweeper cover for three runs. AUS - 3/0 (2).
5:10 AM IST: Jasprit Burmah is mixing up pretty well. Early challenge for Joe Burns. Couple of swing and miss. And a maiden. Good over to start for India.
5:01 AM IST: Joe Burns and Matthew Wade to open for Australia. Jasprit Bumrah with the new ball.
4:58 AM IST: Players are out and time for the National Anthems. India first.
4:41 AM IST: At the toss, Australia captain Tim Paine said they had a quiet Christmas, but "had a good night at Adelaide. Series wins are more important over individual wins. Every match becomes important with the World Test Championship points as well now. Obviously, David Warner has missed a game, but we have great depth."
India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said "it's an honour to lead" the country and were looking to bat first as well. And he had a lot to reflect on. "We dominated the first two days at Adelaide and it was just that one hour that took it away from us. We just need to focus on the moment. Really excited for Shubhman and Siraj; they have worked really hard and have great FC records. Jadeja is a quality all-rounder, is batting really well lately, and adds that balance as well," he added.
4:33 AM IST: Australia win the toss and bat first against India, just like batting great Ricky Ponting had advised at the pitch report.
4:27 AM IST: Huge moment for two young Indians. Shubhman Gill got his Test cap from Ravi Shastri, while Mohammad Siraj received it from Ravi Ashwin.
4:19 AM IST: A commemoration of former Australia cricketer Dean Jones' life is being planned during the Tea break today. Jones' wife Jane said it was fitting that the tribute came when the Indian team was in town. The former batsman's greatest innings was his famous 210 in the tied Test at then Madras in 1986, and he later spent a lot of time coaching and commentating in the sub-continent. He died in Mumbai in September.
4:12 AM IST: It's confirmed. Aussies are unchanged. India, keeping with their 'recent tradition' had announced their XI on the eve of the match. Here are the XIs:
Australia: Tim Paine (captain and wk), Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.
India: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.
4:06 AM IST: In case, if you are wondering how to watch. Here's your complete guide. Watch the match in your own comfort.
4:00 AM IST: This will be the 100th meeting between the two cricketing power-houses, and 50th in Australia against India. Aussies led the head-to-head record 43-28, and there were 27 draws and one tie. But India are catching up. Since 2001, India have won 17 while Aussies have 15.
3:51 AM IST: Just about an hour to the start of the match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, which used to witnessed 90,000-odd crowd in the stands on Boxing Day. But this time, it will about 30,000. Still a big number considering the dwindling numbers elsewhere. And that brings us to Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui , where Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl first against New Zealand.
3:42 AM IST: Sad news to start the day. Celebrated commentator and former England bowler Robin Jackman has died at the age of 75. The ICC confirms the passing of Jackman in a tweet.
We are saddened to learn about the death of legendary commentator and former England bowler Robin Jackman, who has passed away aged 75.
The thoughts of the cricketing world go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/J0fw99qoXC— ICC (@ICC) December 25, 2020
Minus Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane's team will have to tame their mental gremlins first before handling the Australian pace attack consisting of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
“We had just one bad hour (in Adelaide). It’s about staying positive, backing your own ability and batting in partnerships," said Rahane.
The odds are certainly against the Indian team. Mohammad Shami's absence will mean Jasprit Bumrah will have to shoulder the new ball responsibilities along with the experienced Umesh Yadav and debutant Mohammed Siraj.
But the good news is that Ravindra Jadeja will bolster the lower order with his all-round skills. Although it was Ravichandran Ashwin who did a lot of damage to the Australian batting in Adelaide -- remember India took the first innings lead -- Rahane will bank on his pacers to do early damage.
Australia are on a winning spree -- unbeaten in six Tests since end of last year's Ashes -- but skipper Tim Paine knows that how dangerous India can be even without a Virat Kohli.
"The moment we take out foot off the pedal and think we are going all right, we saw in England in that fifth Test, that we can come unstuck pretty quickly. So, a huge focus of ours since that fifth Test in the Ashes has been winning after winning and our attitude towards the next game," said Aussie skipper Tim Paine.
"The last week we have been fantastic in the way we have prepared for this game. We know that some of the players they are talking about coming into their side, like a KL Rahul or a Rishabh Pant, are dangerous players who like to take the game on and will play positively. If we give guys like that an inch, they will take a mile," Paine added.
Pant has replaced Wriddhiman Saha but whether the Delhi youngster can do the holding job remains to be seen.
He's the second former England cricketer to dies in a couple of days. John Edrich, who played 77 Tests between 1963 and 1976, scoring over 5,000 runs, died died at the age of 83, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) informed on Friday.