Vishakhapatnam: In a familiar yet challenging scenario, India heads into the second Test against an opposition that has taken an early series lead. This is not uncharted territory for India, having encountered such situations five times since 2000, with the remarkable 2004 Australian team being the only one to convert an early lead into a series victory.
Despite their formidable home record, India has displayed resilience in overturning deficits in the past. From a clinical bowling performance in Bengaluru to dominating on a turning track in Chennai, India has showcased adaptability. Now, in Vizag 2024, the team aims to dispel any doubts about their home prowess and maintain their streak of not losing consecutive home Tests since 2012.
Captain-coach duo Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid face the challenge of preserving a proud record with a squad that trails in Test runs compared to Joe Root alone. Ravichandran Ashwin emerges as the leading wicket-taker and the second-highest run and century-maker, highlighting the team’s dependence on the seasoned all-rounder.
As they collide with an opposition riding an 18-month wave of success, India seeks quick solutions to bounce back. The recent loss in Hyderabad showcased India’s occasional lapse in sharpness, despite holding a significant lead. The team now confronts the need for better control from bowlers and increased enterprise from both batters and the captain.
Rohit Sharma, particularly, faces a stern test at home for the second time in two years, with the series marker set early. The upcoming match promises a tantalizing prospect, especially if India loses the toss and encounters a similar pitch. The team must demonstrate adaptability, shedding inhibitions and responding effectively to the challenges ahead.