2nd T20I: India short on late-order batting prowess sans Jadeja (Preview)

India will have their task cut out in the second T20 International at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Australia as they will miss the services of injured all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who powered them to victory with the bat in the last two white-ball games.

Jadeja played a stellar role in the consolation win in the last ODI and also starred with the bat in the first T20 International at Canberra on Friday. But he has been ruled out of the remaining two games in the shortest format after being hit on the head by a delivery from Mitchell Starc in Friday’s first T20 International.

India will, however, still fancy their chances to win the second T20I and seal the series in the shortest format against an Australia side that too has been plagued by injuries. Skipper Aaron Finch suffered a niggle on his hip in Friday’s game at Canberra and the reports of his scan are awaited.

The Aussies are already missing vice-captain Pat Cummins who is being rested, senior batsman David Warner who has been ruled out due to groin injury, and Ashton Agar who is down with a calf injury.

Nathan Lyon was drafted in the squad to replace Cameron Green who was picked in the Australia A side that plays India A on Sunday.

If India win the second T20, they will continue to remain unbeaten in a T20 series in Australia. They drew the three-match T20I series in 2018-19, won the 2015-16 T20I series 3-0, drew the two-game series in 2011-12.

Though, they had lost the one-off T20I in 2008.

Skipper Virat Kohli is likely to persist with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who came into the first T20I thanks to a stroke of luck, replacing Jadeja as concussion substitute in Australia’s batting innings. Jadeja was hit on the head by a short ball from Mitchell Starc but he was also struggling with his hamstring which meant he couldn’t have bowled or fielded if he had not been hit on the head.

Chahal, replacing him, took three key wickets — Aaron Finch, Steve Smith and Matthew Wade to put India in charge.

But the responsibility of leading the late assault with the bat will now solely rest in Hardik Pandya’s hands in Jadeja’s absence. Pandya was instrumental in helping India win the last ODI as he put on an unbeaten 150-run partnership with Jadeja although he failed to get going in Friday’s T20I.

India could also play Shradul Thakur, Jadeja’s replacement in the T20I squad, in place of Mohammed Shami as they will most likely look to rest the senior India pace bowler ahead of the Test series that begins on December 17.