Aus vs Ind 2018-19: 5 Points that will decide the second Test 

India celebrate their win in Adelaide
India celebrate their win in Adelaide
Modified 13 Dec 2018
Top 5 / Top 10

The first Test between Australia and India was decided by small margins. It was closely fought until the final wicket, with India holding their nerve to win by 31 runs.

The result puts India in a strong position to win their first Test series in Australia, and to solidify their claim as the world's best Test side.

The second Test will provide a lot of unknowns for both teams. It will be the first Test at Perth Stadium, and many will be curious to see if its drop-in pitch can generate the pace and bounce the WACA was once fabled for.

Furthermore, this is still a very inexperienced Australian batting line-up. Whether the likes of Travis Head, Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb have the skill and mental fortitude to succeed at the highest level is still up for debate.

Even their captain, Tim Paine, only has 16 Tests to his name. He is also looking for his first win as captain, as his record currently consists of three losses and a draw.

India's side is more of a known quantity. However, there is still the matter of Prithvi Shaw's fitness, casting doubts over who will be selected for the second Test. If Shaw is fit, then Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and maybe even Murali Vijay are vulnerable to losing their places. But even if Shaw doesn't recover in time, Hanuma Vihari may be brought into the side.

While all of India's bowlers were superb in Adelaide, only Cheteshwar Pujara will be fully satisfied with his batting performance. Unlike Australia, India don't lack experience with the bat, with Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Pujara himself all having played over 50 Tests. But the similarity of many of their dismissals in Adelaide, particularly the number of batsmen who were out driving in the first innings, does leave room for improvement.

However, the gulf between Australia's batting and bowling is even more pronounced. For all the doubts surrounding their top seven, they boast of one of the stronger bowling attacks in world cricket. With Mitchell Marsh having played poorly in the latest Sheffield Shield match, they are likely to play once more without an all-rounder. With a small break between Tests, and a forecast of hot weather once again, India will have a chance to make Australia's bowlers toil.

#5 The Toss

Australia v India - 1st Test: Day 3
Pujara was quick to read conditions in Adelaide

Virat Kohli finally won a toss in Adelaide, and chose to bat, just as any other captain would have, in those conditions.

However, this turned out to be a reasonable result for Australia. While they may have been forced to face Ashwin when the pitch offered the most for spin, Australia's bowling attack is far more accomplished than their batting line-up, so it gave them the best chance of starting positively.

The pitch in Adelaide also had a bit more life in it than many predicted. While Pujara read the conditions perfectly, India's first four wickets were all from batsmen driving outside their off-stump.

With an untested pitch in Perth, it will be crucial for the side batting first to assess conditions and adapt accordingly.

Despite this, whoever wins the toss will almost certainly want to bat. The weather forecast for Perth suggests temperatures as high as 40 degrees on the opening day. Neither side will want to inflict that on their bowlers, particularly if the pitch turns out to be flat.

Winning the toss and then reading conditions in the first hour of the game will therefore play a significant part in who wins the second Test.

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Published 13 Dec 2018
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