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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Preview: Australia vs India, 2nd Test, Brisbane, December 17 to 21, 2014



Second Test of the four-match series between India and Australia


December 17 to 21, 2014 


Brisbane Cricket Ground

The Teams


Before the start of the Test series, stand-in Captain Virat Kohli spoke about fighting fire with fire, and at Adelaide, he meant it. He made interesting team choices, tactics and field positions that were aggressive and even went on to give India a glimmer of hope of chasing down an impossible target on the final day of the Test match. Few would have backed India to chase 360-plus on a deteriorating track with Nathan Lyon causing all sorts of trouble. Yet, when India walked-in after Tea, with Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli looking ominous, a win didn’t look like a distant possibility. That India had a batting collapse after Murali Vijay’s dismissal and succumbed to a loss looking for a win, should not bother the team. ‘No regrets’ was all that Kohli repeated at the end of the Test match. There was a sense of fight and a hunger to press for a favorable result in a Test match overseas. (Also Read: MS Dhoni has no Fears on Pace and Bounce Brisbane Test)

This is a brand new approach and whether India would continue playing the same kind of cricket depends a lot on MS Dhoni who will be back at the helm of affairs come Wednesday. Dhoni though in his pre-match press conference has made it clear that the intent won’t change and the approach will remain aggressive. With Dhoni, comes different set of ideas and team combinations which would make for interesting reading at Brisbane. Will India opt for Umesh Yadav ahead of Varun Aaron who looked wayward in the first Test? Or will the team management be tempted to give Aaron another game especially with the conditions at the Gabba bound to favour the speedsters? Also, if at all India decide to go in with five bowlers, Rohit Sharma would miss out. Dhoni hinted at R Ashwin getting a go ahead of Karn Sharma since Ashwin added more depth in the batting lower down the order. 

These will be testing times for the Indian batsmen. A young and fast Aussie bowling attack is licking its lips to have a go at the Indian batsmen. 0-1 down in the series, India face a huge test ahead of them. They were within sniffing distance of a win at Adelaide and Brisbane might just be a testament of how they have put the loss behind and focused on the job in hand. 


The Adelaide Test victory was an emotional one for the hosts. They had gone through a tough time after the demise of Phil Hughes and to put up a match-winning performance putting all the turmoil behind was commendable. They had played a Test match of epic proportions. They looked in total control through most of the duration of the Test match until Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli looked like taking away their advantage. Full credit to Australia for turning the match in their favour and they would be looking to deliver maximum impact at Brisbane - a venue where they boast of a commendable record having won four out of the five Tests played against India. Brisbane will hold significance for one individual - Steven Smith, who is all set to lead the side in place of an injured Michael Clarke. When Steven Smith leads his team out in the middle on Wednesday, he will become the youngest Australian captain since Kim Hughes who led the side 35 years back at the age of 25 years and 57 days. These are young shoulders with a steady head on them and Australia believe they have made the right choice. With the Gabba expected to be a green top with a lot of purchase for the pacers, Australia have included Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in place of Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. Australia’s plan looks clear - unleash a pace attack that would be too hot to handle for the Indian batsmen. We are in for a fiery Test match at the Gabba on Wednesday. Quite literally. 

Key Players 


Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t scored a half century since the last nine Test innings. The last time he scored a half century, it was against New Zealand earlier this year where he scored a responsible 98. Since then Dhawan has managed to gather a couple of 30s to his name in the following tour to England. He did get off to a good start with a breezy 25 in the first innings at Adelaide only to be undone by Ryan Harris. He was unlucky to get a harsh decision in the second innings where he was out caught behind off his shoulder for 9. His opening partner Murali Vijay seems to be in ominous touch and Dhawan needs to take a leaf out of his book to stay at the wicket and bat for long. India needs a solid opening partnership to coast away the morning session storm. For that a lot depends on Dhawan and India’s opening stand. 


Josh Hazlewood will be the surprise package at the Gabba. Australia captain Steven Smith is already excited about the prospect of adding more pace and bounce in the Gabba wicket and is expecting a lot from the young speedster having watched him from close quarters with the NSW setup. Hazlewood has a reputation of bowling fast and he would be looking to exploit the conditions at Brisbane to the fullest with Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson for company. 


Ind won
Aus won
In Australia
At Brisbane

2. Result summary at Brisbane:
Won by side batting 1st
Won by side batting 2nd
Since 2000

3. Average first innings score at Brisbane: 
Overall- 336 

Since 2000 - 380

4. Average second innings score at Brisbane: 

Overall - 317

Since 2000 - 322

5. Last meeting between both sides at Brisbane:

Brief scores:
 Dec 4-8, 2003 Australia 323 & 283-4d India 409 & 73-2

Match drawn

6. Form guide (most recent listed first):

India: Lost, Lost, Lost, Lost, Won

Australia: Won, Lost, Lost, Won, Lost

7. Pace vs Spin at Brisbane (who has been more effective)
(since 2000)


The last time Australia lost a Test at Brisbane was 26 years ago- vs West Indies in 1988. Since then the hosts have won 18 of 25 Tests played here with seven ending in draw.

At 25 years 198 days Steven Smith will be the third youngest player to captain Australia in a Test after Ian Craig (22 years 194 days) and Kim Hughes (25 years 57 days).

Shaun and Mitchell Marsh are the first Australian brothers to play together in a Test since Mark and Steve Waugh played their last together against Pakistan in the UAE in 2002

India have never won a Test at the Gabba, but had the better of a draw on their visit in 2003. The last time Australia lost at the Gabba was 26 years ago, against West Indies.

At Adelaide Kohli was top scorer in both innings for India. Last time a captain top-scored in both innings vs Australia in Australia was in 2000 when Sachin Tendulkar 116 and 52 in Melbourne Test. Only three other captains have accomplished this feat vs Australia in Australia.

The Squads

India: M.S.Dhoni ( Captain), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, R. Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohd. Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.

Australia playing XI (2nd Test): David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steven Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathon Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

"Hopefully after the wickets we've played on recently in Test cricket, the Adelaide Oval and the two in the UAE, it's exciting for our fast bowlers to finally have something that's going to have a bit of liveliness to it."
Steven Smith begins his captaincy on a surface to the liking of his pacemen
"The last couple of tours we haven't played here. We have won at some of the fastest Test wickets - Johannesburg and Perth. There will be something extra for the bowlers, especially the fast bowlers."
MS Dhoni rates his team's chances of performing on a swift Gabba pitch

source: bcci.tv


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