2nd T20I: Jasprit Bumrah fitness, death over tension in focus India look to level series vs Australia
Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness status will be the focus of attention when the Indian team considers course correction options against Australia in the second T20 International and try to survive the three-match series in Nagpur on Friday. Bumrah, who has been out of action since the end of the England tour, was ruled out of the Asia Cup due to a back injury. However, to everyone’s surprise, the team management did not play him during the high-scoring first T20I in Mohali, raising doubts as to whether he still achieved peak fitness or not.
To ease the team’s concerns, the ‘three-and-a-half’ pace attack, including Hardik Pandya, conceded 150 runs in 14 overs.
Veteran supporter Bhuvneshwar Kumar has already been taken to the sweepers. He conceded 49 runs in the three final overs (19th) against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Against this backdrop, a fit and fast Bumrah is a pre-requisite for India as home bowlers are increasingly being found on the batting belt.
The worst part about the team is that there are five more official T20 matches left before the first T20 World Cup match against Pakistan on October 23, leaving the Indian team looking quite upset.
If the approach of the top three players in the Asia Cup was a problem, then the biggest concern has been the bowling, which has come out in good batting conditions.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been India’s best spinner in all conditions, doesn’t see any danger now. He has been expensive in the last few matches and will have to find a way to trouble the batsmen on wickets that don’t offer much buy-in.
However, all-rounder Axar Patel, who was included as the same replacement for injured Ravindra Jadeja, proved his mettle once again with three wickets on Tuesday.
India were also sluggish on the field, as they were guilty of dropping three catches, which was criticized by former head coach Ravi Shastri.
In batting, India’s aggressive approach paid dividends as KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav took the team past 200 points after early dismissals of top-order batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Designated finisher Dinesh Karthik did not get much chance on Tuesday and is likely to be given extended playing time with the management keeping all options open in the World Cup.
On the other hand, despite the absence of key players like David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh, Australia look like a well-oiled machine.
All-rounder Cameron Green slipped well into Warner’s shoes with a scintillating half-century at the top in only his second T20I, while Steven Smith and debutant Tim David also gave the team the needed impetus with important cameos.
Experienced Matthew Wade also lived up to the role of the finisher with an unbeaten 45 off 21 and India will have to brace themselves to save Australia from devastation.
Australia, however, would expect a more disciplined performance from their bowling unit after the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Greene in Mohali.
However, the wicket of the VCA Stadium will be different from the Mohali pitch. It is expected to be on the slower side, which will make the role of bowlers more prominent in this game.
With the dew approaching in the evening, the teams would prefer to chase the target than the defender.
Squad: Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Greene, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (VC), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.
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