Virat Kohli pulled off another selection surprise as Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat in scorching hot conditions in the second Test against India at the new Perth Stadium on Friday.
India lead the series 1-0 after a 31-run win in Adelaide and made two changes with key spinner R Ashwin and Rohit Sharma ruled out injured.
All-rounder Hanuma Vihari, who can bowl off-spin, is in for Sharma but it was Kohli opting for Umesh Yadav as Ashwin’s replacement, meaning they go into the Test with an all-pace attack, that raised a few eyebrows.
In a survey published by Scroll on Thursday, after India announced a 13-member squad, Umesh received the least number of votes. While nine players who were available from the Adelaide Test got the most number of votes, obviously, the fight for the remaining two spots was down to four players.
Ravindra Jadeja - 58%
Hanuma Vihari - 53%
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 57%
Umesh Yadav - 19%
Australia were unchanged with Aaron Finch opening the batting with rookie Marcus Harris.
“Obviously it is very warm today and I said this wicket will crack up under the hot weather,” Paine said. “Everyone has recovered really well and we’re raring to go.”
India captain Kohli said he would have batted as well, with temperatures due to nudge 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit).
“But it’s not a bad thing to bowl on day one on a wicket which has a lot of grass. We are happy with whatever we are going to do,” he said.
His selection call — not including a spinner or Bhuvneshwar Kumar, mainly — created a debate among fans on Twitter.
But there were other problems with this selection call. Like...