Australia vs India: Darren Lehmann believes flat MCG pitch will suit Ajinkya Rahane’s men
He also admitted that the visitors would be at a clear position of discomfort after last week’s embarrassing defeat.
Updated - Dec 24, 2020 2:49 pm
Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann believes that the visiting Indian team will savour their batting chances at the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s (MCG) flat batting pitch in the upcoming Boxing Day Test match.
The Indian team could certainly use some added batting confidence after the absolute horror show they were made to endure last week in Adelaide. An extremely defensive and sans-intent batting approach cost Virat Kohli’s red-ball team big-time as they were bundled out for 36- the Indian team’s record lowest total- in their second-innings of the day-night test against Australia.
The trauma of the third innings proved to be the eventual difference between both sides. A spirited bowling performance in the Australian innings had placed India at an advantageous position with a 53-run lead. But all of that came undone, courtesy of the shambolic batting display that followed.
Subsequently, Australia made little work in chasing down their 89-run target and went 1-0 up in the four-game series. It also didn’t help that the Men in Blue dropped as many as five catches across both the Australian innings.
Ahead of the second Test match, though, the visitors’ management seems to be planning a variety of wholesale changes to the team. Captain Kohli, for one, has already departed for his paternity leave, leaving Ajinkya Rahane in charge of the captaincy.
Additionally, the likes of Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant appear to be front-runners for playing the MCG Test that starts this Saturday. Also, it seems quite likely that Mohammed Siraj will replace an injured Mohammed Shami in the line-up.
MCG pitch suits India better because it is flatter, says Darren Lehmann
Lehmann reckons that while still being vulnerable, the Indian batsman will have a much better time playing at MCG’s ‘road-like’ pitch than they did at the Adelaide Oval’s hot-and-spicy deck.
“They can certainly cause some trouble with the ball, it’s just whether the batsmen can cope with the bounce. The MCG pitch will suit them a bit better because it’s a bit flatter. So we’ll see if their batsmen can bounce back and make some runs, especially in the first innings. That’s going to be the key for them,” Lehmann was quoted as saying to the SA Sportsday.
At the same time, he also admitted that the visitors would be at a clear position of discomfort after last week’s embarrassing defeat. “It will be hard now for them, but they’ve actually got some quality players if they can get on a roll,” he concluded.
Past precedence does favour India since they won the last Boxing Day game they played at the MCG back in 2018. Fast-bowler Jasprit Bumrah, with match figures of 6/33 and 3/53, emerged as the Man of the Match on that occasion.