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Australia won a very important toss and opted to bat in the second Test against India at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad on Saturday (March 2).
The pitch, which was dry and cracked, always made batting first the obvious option for the team winning the toss and Michael Clarke made his announcement without hesitation.
Both captains, at the toss, said that the pitch looked quite different from the one in Chennai for the first Test.
“It feels harder than the Chennai wicket,” said Clarke, adding that while spinners would play the bigger part, the pitch might give the faster bowlers a bit of “up-and-down bounce” and it will “deteriorate as the game goes on”.
MS Dhoni, meanwhile, said it was important for his new-ball bowlers to start well. “It looks like a different track, quite different from Chennai,” said Dhoni. “There will be a bit more pace and bounce and reverse swing will play a role.”
India went in with an unchanged playing XI, persisting with Virender Sehwag and M Vijay at the top of the order, two medium pacers in Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja as the three spinners, leaving Pragyan Ojha out again.
Australia handed a Test debut to Glenn Maxwell, the allrounder, and brought in Xavier Doherty, the left-arm spinner, axing Nathan Lyon, the lone frontline spinner in the first Test, and Mitchell Starc.
Matthew Wade, who suffered a minor fracture on his cheekbone at practice on Friday, was passed fit to play and will keep wickets.
India: Virender Sehwag, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Australia: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty.