Bengaluru: Stung by the humiliating defeat in the series-opener, Virat Kohli will face the toughest battle of his fledgling captaincy career when India take on a resurgent Australia in the second cricket Test starting here tomorrow.
It’s not often that an Indian cricket team goes into a home Test match trailing 0-1 and that’s exactly what makes the contest at the ‘Garden City’ even more enticing.
Kohli and Co. are like cornered tigers after being hammered in their 333-run defeat against the Australians on a rank turner where unheralded Steve O’Keefe went home with figures of 12 for 70.
With their juggernaut coming to a grinding halt after 19 consecutive victories, it’s now time to pick up the pieces.
And the team under Anil Kumble’s guidance will look to decipher the winning code on a Chinnaswamy track that promises to be slightly better.
The Indian batsmen will have to deal with Australia’s newest spin twins Nathan Lyon and O’Keefe while the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood is also expected to ask probing questions.
Similarly, the Indians have not yet found a way to get Steve Smith out cheaply and the rival skipper, after his stupendous knock on a devilish pitch, will be itching to get one more.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja would certainly like to forget Pune as it was one match where they hardly got anything right with fielding bloopers adding insult to injuries.
Another issue would be the effective usage of DRS, something India got terribly wrong in the first Test.
Kohli would certainly like to win the toss as it was one of the crucial factors in Pune. The fighter in him will aim to get even with the Aussie bowlers on whom he had feasted during team’s last Test tour Down Under.
Skipper Kohli will certainly want batsman Kohli to read Mitchell Starc’s reverse swing and O’Keefe’s arm balls better than last time.
The track is expected to last the distance but the fickle Bengaluru weather will be a concern as there is forecast of showers on Sunday — the second day of the match.