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The Adelaide Test was a nightmare to be forgotten. I had rightly predicted the loss of India by wickets but India posting 36/9, their lowest possible score was unfathomable. When you have Virat, Pujara, and Rahane, you expect a fightback.

I explicitly mentioned about the morale of the team being low on account of the decision of Kohli leaving the team one month before the birth of his child. To add salt to the wound was noncriticism of his act by any commentator or media.

In my opinion, Kohli should have asked to absent himself from even Adelaide's test and probably Ignominy could have been averted.

Boxing day Test

Boxing day Test  India
Boxing day Test (Picture credits: Cricket Australia)

The tradition of hosting a match on 26th December is unprecedented and it has symbolic hammering of Australian dominance in world cricket. It is a matter of pride for the Indian cricket team to play a Boxing day test in 2020 as they had played at Melbourne in 2018. In my view, as India won in 2018, the Australian spirit wanted to avenge so India was cajoled into playing so early.

Melbourne Pitch

Melbourne Cricket Ground  india
Melbourne Cricket Ground

Melbourne pitch is an ambassador of cricket. In the first two innings, it assists fast bowlers only if they extract movement of the pitch, and from the 4th day onwards it is a delight for spinners. In the last 10 matches, the team batting first has won, the lone exception is when Cook scored a double century and Broad skittled them.

No BIg Bash league matches have been played at the venue in order to maintain the character of the pitch and we hope that it plays on expected lines.

Australian performers

Steve Smith  India
Steve Smith (Picture credits: Outlook India)

Smith has scored centuries in 4 test matches and in only one test he failed to score a ton. Hazelwood and Cummins have always taken wickets here. Warner has also scored heavily at this venue so luckily for India he is still unfit. Lyon has rattled the stumps in 4th innings and he is a potent force.

Indian at Melbourne

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara  India
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara (Picture credits: Scroll.in)

Rahane, Kohli, and Pujara have scored centuries here so India can offer resistance. Bumrah did well in his last outing but he is not the same bowler.

The pitch offers even bounce for the first 3 days and then it breaks. Off the pitch there is movement. So top-order scores but lower-order batsmen find it tough to get going.

Selection of Team

Australian team

Burns has got into a rhythm so he will definitely open. As Wade is the successor of Paine so he will be given another chance. So I feel the team will remain unchanged.

Indian team

Shaw will be replaced by Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane will come 2 down. I will endorse the inclusion of Jadeja as an all-rounder. Mohd Shiraz is quite similar to Umesh so Navdeep Saini should be preferred. Saini is in the mold of Hazelwood and if he pitches a little further up he will be very successful. Further, as Pant will replace Saha so the batting is already strengthened.

I am of the opinion that Mayank will play well in this match and Rahane is a fighter and he will provide a fight back.

Rahane has captained India in two test matches and he won both the matches so it is a blessing in disguise that Virat is not captaining.

Toss

It is a foregone conclusion that whichever team will win the toss will decide to bat first.

Verdict

If India wins the toss and bats first, they will score around 350 and put pressure. Smith in all probability will score a century and India may be in a position to challenge and square the series.

If Australia wins the toss then India is losing this test and in all probability will lose the series. Australia will take 100 odd runs to lead in the first innings and India will be chasing a target of nearly 400 on the fifth day and fail to chase.

Right now Australian players are sympathizing with Indian players and they are propping and exhorting them to play to their potential. So they think that the Indian team is down and dusted. I do not think that. They will definitely put up a fight.

Let's hope that India wins the toss to make this test an even keel. In my last article, the last line was painful viewing which turned out to be true. This time there will be a contest so,

Happy Viewing!!!