Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team has suffered a massive blow ahead of the second Test against Australia at the new Perth stadium with Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma being ruled out of the match due to series. Ashwin, who toiled away for close to 70 overs in the Adelaide Test, including 52.4 overs in the second innings, has suffered a side strain while Rohit jarred his back while fielding in the second innings of the Adelaide Test. India won the match by 31 runs to secure a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. There was bad news for Prithvi Shaw as well. The youngster, who suffered an ankle injury in the Cricket Australia XI warm-up game in Sydney, is still undergoing treatment and could be fit for the Melbourne Test.
A statement from the BCCI read, “The team management is closely monitoring these players and a call on their availability for the third Test will be taken at an appropriate time.” With all these injuries, Kohli’s side have included Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja in the squad for the Perth Test. Vihari could take Rohit’s spot at number six in the playing XI. The final spot in the playing XI could be determined by the nature of the new Perth wicket.
WACA curator Brett Sipthorpe, who is also handling the wicket at the new Perth stadium, unveiled a green pitch and it could offer the Australian pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc plenty of assistance.
Speaking to the official Cricket Australia website, Sipthorpe said the wicket would try to replicate the pace and bounce of the WACA wicket. “We've just been told make it fast, make it bouncy if you can and run with it. We're just trying to produce the bounciest pitch we can,” Sipthorpe said. The new Perth stadium has hosted an ODI against England in 2018 while this will be the first Test played here.
The green and bouncy nature of the wicket could mean that Bhuvneshwar Kumar could slot in place of Ravichandran Ashwin and the Indian team might go for four pacers on this deck. This is not the first time that India would field such a bowling composition. On a difficult wicket in Johannesburg against South Africa, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami tore through the South African batting line-up to register a consolation win in the series after they lost the Cape Town and Centurion Tests.
Squad for the Perth Test:
Virat Kohli, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav