Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting reckons that the hosts now have a very good chance of defeating India 4-0 in the four-match series now after the visitors suffered an eight-wicket drubbing in the first Test.
India stumbled to an eight-wicket loss in the first Test of the four-match series. On the third day of the first Test, India was bundled out for 36 in the second innings and Australia was given a mediocre target of 90 runs to go 1-0 ahead. Australia chased down the total comfortably inside 21 overs with eight wickets in hand.
“Now there’s some serious wounds opened up. There could be a good chance of a sweep. Let’s hope we do get a result in Melbourne and if we do, I think India’s going to find it really hard to bounce back and win a game,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
Skipper Virat Kohli would not be there for the visitors for the remaining three Tests as he heads back home after being granted paternity leave by the BCCI. Ponting now believes that the real character of the Indian team would now be tested as to how they bounce back from such a heavy defeat.
Ponting also asked the Indian selectors to include Rishabh Pant in the playing XI in order to further strengthen the batting in Kohli’s absence.
“We’ll learn a lot about them, won’t we? With Kohli not being there as well, there’s almost no-one to pick them back up after a loss like that. They’ve got to make a couple of changes. Rishabh Pant has to be in that middle order. With Kohli not being there they’ve got to strengthen their batting, he’s got to come in,” said Ponting.
“They’ll look at Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order I’m sure but there’s one thing to make selection changes there’s another to lift the spirits back up again and make sure they’re mentally right for the next challenge because the Australians are not going to go away now. Now they’re getting a bit of a sniff they’re going to go even harder next game,” he added.
India also has a headache as to who plays as an opener in the second Test. Prithvi Shaw completely looked out of sorts in the first Test and he managed to score just four runs in the entire match.
The Kohli-led side might have had a 62-run lead entering the third day of the first Test, but the side squandered the advantage as the batsmen failed to rise to the occasion and Australia made light work of the visitors. While Josh Hazelwood scalped five wickets, Pat Cummins took four. This score of 36 is India’s lowest-ever score in Test cricket. Before this, India’s lowest score was 42 in Test cricket against England in 1974.
India and Australia will lock horns in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, beginning December 26. (ANI)
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