Australia won the toss and opted to bat first in the second Test against India at the Perth Optus Stadium. In team news, India have culled their 13-man squad announced on the eve of the Test further by two to bring in Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari in place of the injured duo of Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin. Rohit had been ruled out with a jarred back while Ashwin picked up a side strain. With Umesh getting the nod, Bhuvneshwar Kumar continues to stay out of the Test fold having not represented India since the Johannesburg Test earlier in the year.
With India going for a four seamer attack in Ishant Sharma, Umesh, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, it is the second time this year that India have gone for four quicks in a Test with the Johannesburg Test against South Africa also seeing four seamers deployed. In fact, that Test had five quicks with all-rounder Hardik Pandya too in the playing XI. India had gone on to win that Test, however, lost the series. In 2012, at the WACA, India had played four seamers in Ishant, Zaheer Khan, Umesh and Vinay Kumar.
Umesh had claimed a five-wicket haul in 2012 at the WACA in Perth and recently he was in top form at home. On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar hasn’t bowled much since his lower back injury which ruled him out of the England Test series, picked up two wickets in the three T20Is prior to the Tests.
The other changes has Vihari coming in for Rohit in a like-for-like change in what is the second Test for the former. With Vihari the last line of batting, India have a lengthy tail and the runs, if recent history is an indication, dwindle at this juncture.
At the toss, India captain Virat Kohli said, “We would have batted as well. But not a bad thing to bowl on day 1 on a wicket which has a lot of grass. We are happy with whatever we are going to do. I have seen an ODI game happen here and it had quite a bit for the bowlers. Pretty excited about that as a bowling side.”
“We will look to get in and make some inroads with the ball. It is a fresh Test. Just another Test match for us. We are not taking anything complacently. We have to work hard for another victory. We are taking the confidence from the last game but not the scoreline ahead.”
Australia captain Tim Paine said at the toss, “It is very warm today and I said this wicket, at the press conference as well, will crack up under the hot weather. Everyone has recovered really well and raring to go. We are happy to be batting first. We are gonna back our boys. We are trying to create an environment which is going to be a bit stable. It is great to be here as it is an amazing stadium.”
Australia XI: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood