India and Australia will lock horns in the second Border Gavaskar Trophy fixture in Delhi, starting on Friday (February 17). India rolled over the Aussies in the first Test in Nagpur where the hosts were bundled out for 177 and 91, losing the game by an innings and 132 runs. The onus is on Australia to make a comeback before it is too late. It is expected that Delhi won’t be a lot different from Nagpur in terms of aid to spin bowling.
Pitch conditions and Team combination
Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium has hosted four Tests since 2010. Spinners have bowled a lot more at this venue in the specified timeline - 61.8% of the total overs bowled. Hence, they have struck in a heavy proportion too, pouching 66.9% of the wickets.
Off-spinners have the highest percentage of wickets at 36.6% while left-arm orthodox spinners have the best bowling average at 21.7. Thus, it will be tricky to tackle the three Indian spinners- Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. Both Ashwin and Jadeja picked five-wicket hauls in the first Test. Hence, load your team with spinners and batters who play it well.
While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Ravichandran Ashwin ( c ), Ravindra Jadeja (vc)
For grand leagues: Axar Patel ( c ), Steve Smith (vc)
Stats That Matter
> Out of the 48 Test wickets picked by off-spinners in Delhi since 2010, 27 have been pouched by Ashwin, at only 20.1 runs apiece.
> Ravindra Jadeja averages 17.1 runs per wicket against Australia in India, the best for any Indian bowler against Australia at home since 2010 (minm. 10 wickets). Jadeja also has a massive upside in his batting, averaging 47.5 with the bat since 2019.
> Shreyas Iyer is available for selection and will be batting at number five in all likelihood. In the Indian sub-continent, he averages 65.6. Against spin in these conditions, his average soars up to 68.7.
> Cameron Green is likely to be available for this Test and could take part as a pace-bowling all-rounder. Mitchell Starc could also be added to the XI.
> Travis Head averages 21.3 in 11 Test innings in Asia.
> Virat Kohli averages 25.8 in 37 Test innings since 2020.
Grand League Punts
> Though Axar picked only one wicket in Nagpur, he holds an excellent record - 48 wickets at 14.7 runs apiece. He can also be a handy batter as he has shown on numerous occasions in his brief Test career as yet.
> Steve Smith averages 60.2 in India, the highest for an Australian batter on Indian soil (minm. 5 Tests). Smith also had the lowest false-shot percentage among all Aussie batters in Nagpur - 13.2%.
> Nathan Lyon has nine wickets in Delhi, however all in one game, way back in 2013.
Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections
India: Rohit Sharma ( c ), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins ( c ), Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy