India vs Australia 2nd Test: Karun Nair to return? Possible playing XI for India in Bengaluru

Deepak Vikraman
India, Australia, second Test, Rahul, Jayant, Ishant


India did not get the pitch or the playing XI right for the opening Test match against Australia. So, when they take the field in Bengaluru for the second Test, Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble need to make sure the playing XI has the right balance and the best resources available to get the desired result against the buoyant Aussies.

India vs Australia second Test schedule

On a turning wicket like the one in Pune, India did not really need the five bowlers and could have easily gone with the extra batsman. This pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, though, is expected to be a lot flatter and better for the batsmen, so it wouldn't be a surprise if India went with five batsmen and five bowlers again, with the wicketkeeper being Wriddhiman Saha.

Here is a look at the possible India playing XI for 2nd Test against Australia, which begins on Saturday.

No.1: KL Rahul: Played the shot that triggered the massive collapse of seven wickets for 11 runs in the first innings. Too reckless for comfort sometimes and needs to pace his innings better, particularly on the slower wickets. Feast or famine thing cannot last for too long, needs to be more consistent.

No.2: Murali Vijay: The right-hander hasn't quite been able to forge a great opening partnership with Rahul. India, with such a strong Australia bowling attack, need these two to put on a big partnership together, which will then ease the pressure on Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to score the bulk of the runs.

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No.3: Cheteshwar Pujara: India's second most important batsman. Has the ability to grind out the opposition and that is something that could come in handy in Bengaluru.

No.4: Virat Kohli: Had a rare failure in Pune, so expect the captain to come firing back. Kohli likes Australian opposition, and with the right-hander playing at his IPL home ground, he will want to put up a big score.

No.5: Ajinkya Rahane: Anil Kumble categorically said Rahane will not be dropped. India are going with their heart rather than the head with this selection. Because, purely based on numbers and the manner in which he bats on a slow pitch with, even a bit of turn, it is clear Rahane struggles. He will score the odd century, but most of his innings, so far at least, have been underwhelming. Hopefully, Rahane has one of those century Test matches.

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No.6: R Ashwin: India's batting fragility came to the fore in Pune. Ashwin and the rest of the lower middle order could not cope with the pressure of being little-to-nothing for four/five/six, rather than 300-odd for four. With a better wicket, chances are Ashwin will come in with the score looking a lot better and expect the all-rounder to put up another solid score.

On the bowling front, Ashwin will know he needs to get back to his potent, flight-befuddling best to keep India on the front foot throughout this Test match.

No.7: Wriddhiman Saha: While there is no questioning his wicketkeeping skills – how good was he in Pune – Saha still has a lot to prove when it comes to his batting. He is still not someone who instils too much confidence when India are in a tight spot and that needs to improve.

No.8: Ravindra Jadeja: Still not quite reached his batting potential in international cricket, although there have been positive signs. Jadeja was extremely unlucky to not pick up more wickets in Pune, but it was also because Australia had a good strategy to play the left-arm spinner, wherein they made sure they did not go feeling for the ball, instead always playing for the one that did not turn.

It will be up to Jadeja to counter that tactic and find ways of getting the Australia batsmen out.

No.9: Jayant Yadav: One of the more disappointing performers in the first Test. His batting looked far from the solid shield against England and his bowling looked pretty ordinary. Needs to perform better in both departments in the second Test. Jayant is likely to keep his place only because the wicket is expected to be flat, at least for the first three days, which means more work for the bowlers. If not, Karun Nair could be brought in as the extra batsman.

No.10: Umesh Yadav: India's best bowler in the last match. Looks potent when the ball reverses and Australia will consider him a real threat.

No.11: Ishant Sharma: Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the other option, but unless Virat Kohli feels the wicket will be quite good for the pacers, Ishant is likely to keep his place. Did not bowl much in Pune and while he is quite tight and difficult to score off, needs to bring that wicket-taking ability out a little bit more.

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