Australia vs India: Player Showdowns That Could Decide The 2nd Test Match
All eyes now turn to Perth as the intense showdown between Australia and India is days away from resuming. The Indians take a 1-0 series lead into the second test match after they clinched a thrilling victory in Adelaide by 31 runs on Monday. Not many of the world’s leading betting analysts could have predicted Rishabh Pant’s incredible record-equalling 11 catches, which proved to be a huge factor behind the Indian victory.
With so many world class players on display, cricket fans across the world will be intrigued to see who takes centre stage during the next encounter. Here, we have listed the most important showdowns for the upcoming second test match and the players that could prove to be the difference.
KL Rahul vs Josh Hazelwood
As with any big match, cricket teams need to make a strong start when it comes to the top order within their batting line-up. This was something India maximised to great effect in the second innings of the first test, where KL Rahul and Murali Vijay managed to accumulate 50-runs in very quick fashion.
The Indian Cricket team will be looking to use this partnership as a key weapon for score building in the second test match. When it comes to halting their progress, Australia are likely to turn to medium pace bowler Josh Hazelwood, since his disciplined throwing action and ability to move the ball both ways is likely to cause the biggest problems for the Indian batting contingent.
Virat Kohli vs Mitchell Starc
This is perhaps the most prestigious contest when it comes to India vs Australia. Kohli is the best Indian batsman and Starc is the best Australian bowler, which means the manner in which they fair against each other could ultimately shift the tide for their team.
Kholi is a tough opponent to crack, but the consistent performance levels shown by Starc over the years and the fact this game will be played out on a pacey pitch at the Optus Stadium, means this showdown could prove to be a highly riveting spectacle.
It has been confirmed that Australia will retain Starc for the vital second test, as captain Tim Paine announced that he wouldn’t be making any changes to his side.
Cheteshwar Pujara vs Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon seems to have developed a stronghold over the Indian batsman with his continually effective spin bowling action. One of the biggest indications of his dominance comes from his eight dismissals of Cheteshwar Pujara, which is the most from the current Indian batting line-up.
Now that weaknesses have been identified within the Indian team and the fact Australia have the means to exploit them in the form of Nathan Lyon’s bowling ability, there is every reason to believe that he could play a crucial role in the second test match.
Usman Khawaja vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Usman Khawaja was expected to make more of a positive impact during the first test match, however his performance will be remembered far more for his poor temperament and ineffective technique. Unless he improves dramatically, this could prove to be a big hindrance for the Australian side in the next match.
His lacklustre display was greatly heightened by India’s Ravichandran Ashwin, who managed to exploit the Australian’s poor record against spin bowlers to great effect.
Aaron Finch vs Ishant Sharma
Aaron Finch has been the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons ever since this series began. The first test match saw the Australian dismissed after an incredibly poor shot, as well as making a string of poor bowls.
India will once again turn to Ishant Sharma to make the most of these weaknesses, which could prove to be detrimental to Australia’s chances. The Indian is currently in the best form of his career so far and will be well suited to the bouncy Perth conditions.
There are certainly a number of high-profile contests that could make all the difference when the second test match starts on Friday. Will India take advantage and go 2-0 up? Or will Australia fight back and level the scores as the halfway stage within the series approaches?
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