Australia has made a fantastic start towards winning the second test match thanks to another brilliant century by Steve Smith, ably supported by a remarkable comeback innings by Glenn Maxwell.
So, what lies in store for Day 2?
The pitch is expected to be at its best for batting on Day 2 and we fully expect Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell to cash in on the conditions. Steve Smith is answering calls of cheating from the Indian captain in the best manner possible and so is even more motivated than normal. We think that backing Smith to score above 170 plus is a safe bet especially since the Indian bowlers will be bowling without too many attacking fielders around. Glenn Maxwell is currently in the middle of his longest innings in any International game in terms of balls faced and should be able to reach his hundred without any trouble. There is a chance though that he may get more adventurous and throw away his wicket after that.
Once a wicket falls, though, India could run through the lower batting order. There is only Mathew Wade to follow and he has been in terrible form, while the absence of Starc from the tail makes it unlikely to offer much resistance.
We think that India might be able to restrict the Australians for 400-430 runs.
The Indian bowlers struggled to extract anything from this pitch after the first session and that is unlikely to change on Day 2. The most likely bowler to take wickets on such a surface is Ravi Ashwin. He has a couple of left-handers to aim at and his variation will make more of a threat than the eerily accurate Ravindra Jadeja.
Backing Ashwin to get the most wickets might seem like an obvious bet but we believe it is the right call to make.
India can expect to bat at some time tomorrow on Day 2 and depending upon where the Australian total ends up, they could be facing a massive task ahead of them. There is also the Virat Kohli injury to consider.
He was off the field for most of Day 1 after hurting his shoulder diving on the field and we do not know if or how much of an impact it will have on his batting. The other Indian batsmen will have to step up if Kohli is going to be compromised.
K L Rahul is in good form, however, we think that he was lucky to have got the number of runs that he did. His partner, Mural Vijay is returning from injury but has been one of the best Indian batsmen in recent times.
Backing him to get the highest score of the innings is taking a chance but it may be worth the risk. He will have the best conditions to bat on against a hard new ball that should race off the bat. Of course, he has to first get by against an in-form Josh Hazelwood and the express Pat Cummins as well.
Our pick for top-wicket taker in the Australian side is Steve O’Keefe, who should be able to exploit the conditions to his liking. The second day of the test promises to be another enthralling one and also where Australia could begin the end of Indian dominance at home.
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