Virat Kohli and his men have a clear advantage going to Perth as the Australians are battling serious handicaps
After the high of the Adelaide Test win, Virat Kohli and his men will be back on the field this Friday as the challenge for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy resumes in Perth.
India scripted history at the Adelaide Oval with a hard-fought 31-run win in the opener of the four-Test rubber.
Thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara's century and a half-ton in the match, and the bowlers' superb efforts, India emerged triumphant.
A look now at four major chinks in Australia's armour which India should exploit in Perth.
Hosts' fragile opening combination
Australia handed a Test debut to Marcus Harris in the Adelaide Test. Along with him, there was Aaron Finch to open the innings. Finch has been a proven performer in the shorter versions of the game. He has been aggressive in both ODIs and T20Is, but the same cannot be said of his Test prowess. He was exposed against the potent Indian pace attack. He is still a newbie in the five-day format. With two newcomers at the top of the order, Australia provided India a golden chance to pick two wickets upfront very early. Finch made 0 and 11 while Harris contributed a brace of 26 in Adelaide.
India will again have a great opportunity to get a crack at the Australian middle-order early in Perth with a 'very quick' pitch expected to greet the two teams. The Indian pacers are going great guns and are expected to give the Australian openers a run for their money in Perth.
Mitchell Starc's struggles
Once rated as one of the best left-arm pacemen in the world, Starc had gone off the radar due to injuries. He was not at his best in Adelaide. Though many questioned his ability, his teammate Nathan Lyon defended his showing.
Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson said Starc was struggling and he was ready to help him rediscover his rhythm for Perth. Starc took five wickets in the match but three of those were of tailenders. And, he accounted for Murali Vijay in both innings. Starc was far from his old self. The Indian batsmen will be relieved that they have finally got Starc's number.
Inexperienced captain — Tim Paine
With the absence of frontline batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, who had been banned for ball-tampering, Australia were forced to hand the captaincy to wicketkeeper Paine. He is doing his best to put Australian cricket back on track after the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa earlier this year.
However, with just 16 Tests under his belt and a dual responsibility of wicketkeeping and leadership, Paine's plate is full. No doubt he is a gutsy batsman at number seven, but he will be under more pressure now, with his team trailing 0-1 heading to Perth. It is time for India to pile on the pressure on Paine and his team.
Weak middle order
Barring Usman Khawaja, Australia's middle order, just like the opening pair, looks brittle. Shaun Marsh showed signs of coming back to form with a gritty 60 in the second innings in Adelaide, but he is far from being an accomplished Test batsman. The Australian public and media have already questioned his place in the team. Another left-hander Travis Head is also young in terms of Test experience.
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Last Updated Dec 12, 2018, 7:20 PM IST