India to swing the axe after historic Adelaide horror show

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured here, India captain Virat Kohli will be among those players missing in the second Test.
India look set to make up to four changes for the second Test. Pic: AAP

India are expected to swing the axe after being annihilated in Adelaide, with the tourists tipped to make four changes and blood two debutants as they seek to level the four-Test series in Melbourne.

India's chaotic collapse at Adelaide Oval, where a second-innings total of 36 represented an all-time low for the proud cricket nation, is likely to result in an overhaul of their XI.

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Captain Virat Kohli will miss the rest of the series because of the birth of his first child.

India are yet to confirm Mohammed Shami has a broken wrist but the paceman, who was a crucial part of India's drought-breaking Test triumph in Australia two years ago, will be another enforced omission.

Veteran wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who was a contentious inclusion ahead of Rishabh Pant for the first Test, and out-of-form opener Prithvi Shaw are also facing the axe.

Seen here, out-of-form India stars Prithvi Shaw and Wriddhiman Saha during the first Test against Australia.
Opener Prithvi Shaw and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha are tipped to be axed from India's Test XI. Pic: Getty

The Press Trust of India (PTI) is reporting that Saha and Shaw will be dumped for the Boxing Day Test.

Fast bowlers Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, both yet to start their Test careers, are vying to replace Shami.

Shubman Gill, the 21-year-old prodigy who averages almost 70 at first-class level and impressed Kolkata teammate Pat Cummins during the recent IPL, is expected to make his Test debut at the MCG.

Gill is a top-order batsman but may be deployed at No.6 in a rejigged order, meaning KL Rahul could be recalled to open alongside Mayank Agarwal.

Former captain Sunil Gavaskar, whose name adorns the trophy that Australia and India are competing for, backed the logic of unleashing a revamped top six featuring Rahul and Gill.

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"There are going to be two changes in the batting for sure," Gavaskar told India Today's Sports Tak.

"KL Rahul will probably come in for Prithvi Shaw to open the batting.

"At No.5 or No.6 Shubman Gill should come in, his form has been good.

"Things can change if we start well.

"Australia's weak point is their batting.

"Had we held our catches well and had good field placements, there might not have been any problem ... Australia got ahead in the Test because of those dropped catches."

Shaw scored just four runs in the series opener, falling to Mitchell Starc then Pat Cummins in similar fashion, after failing to fire in either tour game.

Former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad suggested No.6 batsman Hanuma Vihari, who like Pant scored a century during India's pink-ball tour game before the first Test, should fill the massive void left by Kohli at second drop.

"Vihari has a very sound technique and temperament .. he is a gutsy boy," Prasad told PTI.

"In the absence of Virat, it would be a great opportunity for him and KL (Rahul) to stand up and be counted."

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