India and Australia are all set to lock horns in the second Test of the four-match series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.
Australia registered a thumping 8-wicket win over India in the series-opening Pink-ball Test and will look to maintain the momentum when they take the field against a depleted Indian side which will be without captain Virat Kohli and fast bowler Mohammed Shami.
Kohli has returned home to be with his pregnant wife Anushka Sharma while Shami was ruled out of the remainder of the series with an injured arm which he fractured in the first match after getting hit by a Pat Cummins bouncer.
Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the team in Kohli’s absence while Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj will be making their Test debuts as India announced an inexperienced playing XI for the second game.
Australia on the other hand, will be riding high on confidence despite not having the injured David Warner in their ranks.
WHAT WILL BE THE WEATHER LIKE IN MELBOURNE?
Accuweather website page screenshot
The weather will remain overcast for most part of the day on Saturday with the temperature hovering around 29 degrees celsius. Chances of rain stands at 3 per cent in Melbourne on Boxing Day with humidity around 40 per cent so a full day’s play is expected on December 26.
AUSTRALIA & INDIA PLAYING XIs
Australia are unlikely to tinker with their playing XI in Melbourne after their clinical performance in the first match. They will only be missing Warner, who had injured his groin in the 2nd ODI against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground last month.
Australia likely XI: Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
India XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj.