Australia look for relief after first Test defeat in India
Pat Cummins’ Australia have returned to the site of their humiliating innings defeat and flown in as a back-up spinner in an attempt to redeem themselves ahead of the second Test against India starting in Delhi this week. Left-arm slow bowler Matthew Kuhnmann has joined left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc in the match squad for what is likely to be another tough trial of spin at the Arun Jaitley Stadium from Friday. After being dismissed for 91 after losing the first Test by an innings and 132 runs, openers David Warner and Co. on Monday went back to the dusty pitch in Nagpur for practice.
Australia’s fragile batting remains a major concern after a second innings collapse in the same season to go 1-0 down in the four-match series.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey said, “We are still very positive amongst ourselves that we will be able to come back to Delhi and take this series behind us.”
“I think we’re a really strong Test team. We’ve got all the bases covered. Unfortunately this first Test didn’t go as planned.”
Australia are expected to make changes as Kuhnmann is likely to be part of a three-pronged spin attack with Todd Murphy, who bagged seven wickets on his Test debut in Nagpur, and the experienced Nathan Lyon on the spin-friendly wicket of Delhi. .
The 26-year-old Kuhnman played in four One Day Internationals last year and replaced Mitchell Swepson, who was due to return home for the birth of his first child.
Batsman Travis Head is expected to return after his surprise omission, while Cummins also left the door open for Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green, who are both recovering from finger injuries.
“The big key is to use reverse swing when the ball is a bit hard, which is making it more difficult for the batsman,” Starc, who replaced Scott Boland, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Obviously spin is going to play a big part and if we can get the ball straighter off the seam then that will play a big part as well.”
In batsman Cheteshwar Pujara’s 100th Test, Rohit Sharma-led India will look to keep the momentum going as line-up changes are unlikely.
The 35-year-old Pujara, a format player who averages over 44, said he will have the bigger picture in mind during the historic match.
Pujara told ESPNcricinfo, ‘We are playing an important series against Australia.’
Yes, the second Test will be my 100th, but after that there will be two more Tests which will be very important for us to win to qualify for the (World Test Championship) final.
Pujara scored seven in Nagpur but Rohit’s 120 and powerful lower-order innings by Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel saw India comfortably out-bat the tourists with their 400.
Spinners Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have been in fine form in Nagpur with 15 wickets between them.
Middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer has been declared fit to return to the team for the second Test after missing the opener due to a back injury.
The first Test win means India, ranked second in the world rankings behind Australia, have strengthened their qualification chances for the World Test Championship final at The Oval in London from June 7-11.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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