Kolkata: Rain once more may play a crucial role when India take on Australia in the second of the five-match ODI series at the Eden Gardens, here Thursday. The Met department has predicted sporadic showers during the game and hence the toss would again turn out to be very important for both the sides.
Other than the rain, what will definitely bother the Australians is their inability to tackle the threat of spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who between them snared five wickets in the first ODI. It is one aspect that the Australian batters need to work on if they are to wage a successful battle in the series. And to do it, one of their two most experienced batsmen, skipper Steve Smith or his deputy David Warner, would have to contribute majorly.
The pitch at the Eden Gardens does have a shade of green on it… something which prompted Smith to say ‘he has never seen so much grass on the same track’ before. However, most of it is dead grass and with the pitch getting a roll just before the game, it will be on the slower side. More than anything, the side batting second will have difficulty. However, being the hosts, the Indian bowlers are more likely to exploit the conditions better than their Aussie counterparts.
The Indians will be going into the game with the same XI which played in Chennai. The Aussies on the other hand, are contemplating promoting Travis Head at the top of the order in place of Hilton Cartwright and bringing in Peter Handscomb, who has better record against spin, to strengthen the middle-order. However, for them to do well, their all-rounders – James Faulkner, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell – have to fire in unison.
Looking at the training session of the Australians, one got the notion that they would try and use the reverse and the slog sweep to tackle the Indian spinners. At the request of the visitors, the Cricket Association of Bengal had provided two chinaman bowlers – Rupak Guha Khasnabis and Ashutosh Sibram Sharma at the Aussie nets. Maxwell and the others, including Warner, were repeatedly seen using the reverse and slog sweep against these two rookie bowlers. But then the way the two practice bowlers got through the defences of the Australian batsmen on a number of occasions, the frown never left the face of Smith.
India on the other hand would be hoping that their top three fire. Eden Gardens has always been a happy hunting ground for Rohit Sharma and he would like to maintain the tradition here while Virat Kohli would definitely like to get some runs under his belt. It is a good sign that India’s lower-order is firing and that surely will be another headache for the Aussies.
But before all that, the Aussies will have to get rid of their spin demons.
Press Trust of India