India on Friday called their match XI for the second test against Australia starting December 26 with test debuts handed to Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj. Gill comes in for Prithvi Shaw and is likely to open the serve as Siraj replaces the injured Mohammed Shami. Rishabh Pant replaces Wriddhiman Saha behind the shackles even as Ajinkya Rahane comes forward to lead the team in Virat Kohli’s absence. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was also included in the XI as India comes in with five bowling options for the Boxing Day Test.
– BCCI (@BCCI) December 25, 2020
Mayank Agarwal will most likely have a new opening partner in Gill even though Cheteshwar Pujara, Rahane and Hanuma Vihari occupy the mid-range slots.
Ravindra Jadeja is likely to beat No. 6 followed by wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who enjoyed a superlative test tour of Australia in 2018-19.
In the absence of Mohammed Shami, who suffered a fractured right arm, India strengthened its bowling bout by including Jadeja as well as delivering a debut to speedy bowler Siraj.
Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav are the other fast throwers while R Ashwin is the specialized spinner.
Shaw, who returned scores of 0 and 4 in the first test in Adelaide, was eliminated while Wriddhiman Saha, a specialist goalkeeper, was benched in favor of the more aggressive hitter Pant.
Pant amassed 350 four-test runs at 58.33 on the 2018-19 tour of India in Australia and that record kept him well placed for a place ahead of Saha.
Gill, who scored half a century in the warm-up match in Sydney before the first test, will make his test debut nearly two years after making his ODI debut, against New Zealand in early 2019.
He scored 2270 runs from 23 first-class games to 68.78 with seven centuries.
Siraj, who has 152 first class wickets at 11.44 pm, will make his Test debut after making his ODI debut against Australia in 2019 as well.
India are behind Australia 1-0 in the four-game series after losing the first Test by eight wickets.
India XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
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