The exploits of MS Dhoni and R Ashwin in the Chennai Test against Australia has helped India forget the debacle against England and approach the second Test against the visitors’ in a positive frame of mind.
Dhoni’s effort has rekindled the interest in Tests as far as crowd attendance goes. It augurs well for the game. Both teams will be cautions when they play at Hyderabad in the second Test. The Indians will be careful not to repeat what happened against England where they won the first Test and fared poorly in the next two to lose the series.
On the other hand, Aussies with their pride dented, will look for redemption. Experts suggest that both teams should have a relook at the playing XI. Australia in particular need to effect a couple of changes to regain confidence. Indications are that skipper MS Dhoni would like to retain the winning combination.
Although the Indian openers, particularly Murali Vijay did not fare well at Chennai, Dhoni has insisted that the duo should be given a long rope. Another failure by Vijay might result in selectors bringing back Gautam Gambhir for the third Test. Gambhir made a hundred against Australia in the warm-up match. It’s an important game for Vijay.
There has been suggestion from several quarters to include Pragyan Ojha for the Hyderabad game. Ojha, who has been among the wickets in recent times, and knows the conditions best being his home ground, has a good chance of getting into the playing XI. Ravindra Jadeja’s ability to trouble the Aussies with his brand of spin bowling gives hope to Ojha.
The theory that playing a left-arm spinner against a line up of four-left-handed batsman will be detrimental to the side has been proved wrong by Jadeja’s success.
Sources indicate if MS Dhoni is convinced before the game that the track will be a rank turner like Chennai, Ojha will be included in place of a seamer.
Australia is likely to make a minimum of two changes as their skipper Michael Clarke indirectly indicated. Although he did not specify the changes, the visitors need to include a genuine second spinner and find a replacement for Phil Hughes, who has been a complete failure in the series, including the tour games.
Xavier Doherty is the best bet for second spinner’s spot. Since Australia cannot drop James Pattinson and Moises Henriques, besides Mitchell Starc lending variety, Peter Siddle is the likely one to sit out. Hughes place may go to Glenn Maxwell, who will bat in the middle order with Shane Watson and Clarke batting higher up in the order. Maxwell is a hard-hitting batsman and his off spin will come in handy. Maxwell should get the nod with Steve Smith not performing well in tour games.