The Indian Test team high on confidence after winning six consecutive Test series at home shall be taking on Australia in a 4-match Test series on home soil starting with the first match starting on Feb 23.
The Indians have struck a purple patch in Test cricket since the last year and a half courtesy their unbeaten record streak of 19 Test matches. The Indians have simply been on a roll in Test cricket. They started their winning streak by defeating West Indies in their own backyard.
Next were the Kiwis whom they handed a 3-0 whitewash before inflicting a crushing defeat on the English. The Indians dint show any respite beating their South Asian neighbors Bangladesh by a heavy margin of 208 runs in the one-off Hyderabad Test.
The team has gone from strength to strength under Virat Kohli’s captaincy and took over as the Number One Test team at the end of the year.
The BCCI selectors on Feb 14 picked up the team for the first two Test against Australia and their selection dint surprise many as they stuck to the winning combination that beat Bangladesh by 208 runs.
Indian Test Team (First two Tests) - Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (Captain) , Akinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wridihiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, B Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Abhinav Mukund
Murali Vijay Vijay been India’s most dependable opening batsman in Test cricket over the last five years. He has played a pivotal role in giving India a solid platform at the beginning of the innings both at home and while playing abroad. The elegant strokemaker has the perfect balance between attack and defence. Meanwhile Vijay has not got a sound partner on the other end.
While Shikhar Dhawan got dropped due to extended run of poor form, the selectors have given a chance to promising Karnataka rookie KL Rahul who has showcased promise with his elegant stroke making but certainly has been plagued by inconsistencies early his career.The Indians would expect Rahul to deliver more consistently and form a potent combination with Vijay in Tests.
The middle order looks to be the most compact and experienced part of the Indian batting order. Indian skipper Virat Kohli has proved his forte in the longer format too. Kohli’s form with the willow has been nothing short of spectacular as he notched up 4 consecutive double tons in Test matches.
The Indian captain has a penchant for big scores and lays a price to his wicket. Spin or pace, Kohli has mastered the art of scoring runs with consistency. Ajinkya Rahane is the calming influence in the middle order, bestowed with a solid defence and sound temperament. Rahane has also been in sublime form during India’s golden run in Test cricket.
Cheteshwar Pujara with his dodged defence and copy book stroke making has become the lynchpin in the middle order who excels at playing the sheet anchor’s role to perfection. Pujara has showcased the ability to grind the opposition with powers of concentration and
Lower Middle Order
The Indians bat deep as they have the luxury of all-rounders in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandaran Ashwin who consistently make valuable contributions with the bat.
Both Ashwin and Jadeja have well organised techniques and chip in with runs to provide depth to the Indian batting. The Indians have also called up Hardik Pandya who has proved his forte in the ODIs. It is now to be seen if he can come good in the longer format too.
Ravichandran Ashwin shall once again spearhead the Indian spin attack. The ace off spinner has simply been sensational at home, running through batting line-ups of opponents at will over the last few year.
Ashwin has got a spin twin in Ravindra Jadeja who has complimented Ashwin by chipping in with wickets at regular intervals. They both have been instrumental in carving out victories on a consistent basis for India in Test matches.
The Indian pace attack has a perfect blend of swing and seam. While speedster Umesh Yadav can unsettle the best in the game with his raw pace, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can be lethal with his potent inswing in seaming conditions. Meanwhile veteran seamer Ishant Sharma would like to bend his back and exploit the bounce on seam friendly tracks like Dharamasala.
The Indians would also like to see injury-hit Mohammad Shami making it back to the squad for the last two games.Shami has been an asset to the Indian team with his ability to swing the old ball sharply.