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2nd T20I: Jasprit Bumrah Fitness, Death Over Worries Focus as India look to Tier Series against Australia

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Jasprit Bumrah’s form will be a matter of attention as a struggling Indian side consider course correction options against Australia in the second T20 International and strive to maintain the three-game streak in life, in Nagpur on Friday. Bumrah, who has been out of action since the England tour ended, skipped the Asian Cup due to a back injury. However, to everyone’s surprise, the team management didn’t play him in the first T20I in Mohali which raises doubts whether he still reached peak physical form or not.

To compound the team’s concerns, the three-and-a-half-pronged attack, including Hardik Pandya, conceded 150 runs in 14 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the seasoned pro, has already been taken to cleaners. He let slip 49 points in the penultimate three overs (19th) he played against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.

In this context, a fit and fiery Bumrah is a prerequisite for India as home bowlers are increasingly discovered on batting belts.

The worst thing about the squad is that with five other official T20Is remaining ahead of the T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan on October 23, the Indian squad looks very unsettled.

If approaching the top three was a problem before the Asian Cup, the biggest worry was the bowling which was exposed in good batting conditions.

Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been India’s go-to spinner in all conditions, no longer looks menacing. He’s been expensive in recent games and he’ll have to find a way to bother the wicket hitters who don’t offer much buy.

However, the versatile Axar Patel, who was replaced as an equal for injured Ravindra Jadeja, once again proved his worth with a three-wicket carry on Tuesday.

India were also sloppy on the pitch as they were guilty of losing three catches, which drew criticism from former head coach Ravi Shastri.

At bat, India’s aggressive approach paid off as KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav took the team past the 200 mark after top hitters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were fired early.

Designated finisher Dinesh Karthik didn’t have much luck on Tuesday and is expected to be given extended playing time as management seek to keep all options open for the World Cup.

Australia, on the other hand, looked like a well-oiled machine, despite missing key players such as David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh.

Versatile Cameron Green slipped nicely into Warner’s shoes with a sizzling top fifty in just his second T20I, while Steven Smith and debutant Tim David also gave the team the boost they needed with crucial cameos .

Experienced Matthew Wade also lived up to the role of finisher with a stellar 45 from 21 and India will have to pull their socks up to stop Australia from going wild.

Australia, however, are hoping for a more disciplined show from their bowling unit after the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Green bled at Mohali.

The ticket office at the VCA stadium, however, will be different from the Mohali track. It is expected to be slower which will make the role of bowlers more important in this game.

With the evening dew, teams will rather chase than defend totals.

Teams: Australia: Aaron Finch (C), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampah.

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India: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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