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India look to bounce back

India look to bounce back
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While India welcome back regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the host team will see one its youngest captains Steven Smith take charge in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke. Smith, 25, will be Australia’s 45th Test captain, and youngest since Kim Hughes in 1979.Changes in personnel are also expected in both the sides. Australia have already called in young pacers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc to replace Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. For the visitors, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha will make way for Dhoni while it is expected that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will replace leggie Karn Sharma, who made his debut in the first Test.

India might have lost the first Test by 48 runs but they gave a good account of themselves. The visitors were well placed to win the Test after the first two sessions on the final day but some appalling batting from the lower-middle order saw India throw away their advantage in the final session, losing eight wickets to go down narrowly.

However, the Indians will be presented with a very different challenge than what they encountered in the first Test. The pitch at the Gabba is expected to be very different from the one at the Adelaide Oval. Known for its green top pitch, pacers are expected to be in the limelight. That means Australia’s first Test spinning hero Nathan Lyon, who picked up a total of 12 wickets in the match, is likely to take a back seat with the hosts relying on the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Starc to do more damage. “(The Gabba) is traditionally quite a fast and bouncy wicket and it certainly looks no different out there for this Test match. Hopefully after the wickets that we’ve played on in Test cricket recently, it’s exciting for our fast bowlers to finally have something that’ll have a bit of liveliness to it,” said Smith.

Dhoni was also hopeful of his team’s chances noting that India have had some memorable wins on fast pitches in the recent past. “The last couple of tours we haven’t played here. We have won at some of the fastest Test wickets, Johannesburg and Perth. There will be something extra for the bowlers, especially the fast bowlers,” said Dhoni.

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