Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj will make their Test debuts as India announced their playing XI for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, which begins from Saturday.
India made four changes – two of them forced – to their playing XI which lost in Adelaide. Gill replaced an out-of-form Prithvi Shaw and will open the batting with Mayank Agarwal.
There was a lot of discussion around the opening pair of India after Shaw’s technique against the in-coming delivery was exposed in both the innings in the day-night Test. Speaking about the role of openers, stand-in captain Rahane said he wants to give his opening batsmen enough freedom and hopes to see their natural game in the Boxing Day Test.
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“See the opener’s role not only in Australia but everywhere is really crucial and I don’t want to put any pressure on our openers. Just want to give them freedom so that they can play their game,” said Rahane as quoted by ANI.
“Having said that as mentioned, openers’ role is very crucial when you get that partnership going it becomes really easy for the coming batsmen. We definitely miss Virat (Kohli), obviously when you have him it’s a great thing so we will definitely miss him as he is not there,” he added.
Ravindra Jadeja came in for Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) as India decided to strengthen their bowling department. Rishabh Pant replaced Wriddhiman Saha as the wicket-keeper-batsman of the side while right-arm pacer Mohammed Siraj replaced Mohammed Shami, who was ruled out with a wrist fracture.
Hanuma Vihari held on to his spot and is likely to bat at No.5. Rahane, on the other hand, should go one slot up and bat at No.4, a position which is owned by Kohli. There was no place for KL Rahul as India went for Jadeja, who regained his fitness after missing the first Test.
“The last couple of net sessions, the preparations have been really good. Talking about the last Test, we had two good days and just one bad session where we lost it completely. We want to stick to the same plans that we have in the first Test,” Rahane added.
India Playing XI for 2nd Test against Australia: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
India trail the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy 1-0.