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India vs Australia, 2nd Test: The hosts are set to field unchanged XI for Boxing Day match

Australia’s head coach Justin Langer
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Australia’s head coach Justin Langer 

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Australia’s head coach Justin Langer has said he will field most likely an unchanged XI for the Boxing Day Test, saying he would have to be "pretty courageous" to change a team that won so convincingly in Adelaide.

Australia's head coach Justin Langer has said he will field most likely an unchanged XI for the Boxing Day Test, saying he would have to be "pretty courageous" to change a team that won so convincingly in Adelaide.

Two days prior to the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Langer has confirmed that Australia will go with the same playing XI that was played in the first Test, which Australia comfortably won by eight wickets, unless there is an unexpected injury, as reported by cricket.com.au.

"I'd be a pretty courageous man to change the XI for this Test match after the last one. At this stage, unless something happens over the next few days – and things can happen in the world we live in – we'll go in with the same XI, I'd say," Langer said.

David Warner was ruled out of the second Test on Wednesday due to the groin injury he suffered last month as well as complications regarding Sydney's recent COVID19 outbreak. That would mean, new opening pair of Matthew Wade and Joe Burns will get another chance at the top of Australia's batting order before Warner's possible return later in the series.

The Boxing Day Test is set to witness a crowd up to 30,000 into the MCG, which will be the first time the spectators have been allowed since the Australian women's team defeated India Women in the final to win the Twenty20 World Cup in March.

Even though the ambience will be different from a normal Melbourne Test, where up to 90,000 people fill the stadium, Australian coach Langer is just happy to be at the MCG at all.

"30,000 is better than none. It wasn't that long ago, probably a few months ago, we wondered whether we would have a Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Every time I come here, I pinch myself. It's just an amazing stadium. There's so much hype about it and the boys love playing here," added Langer.

With the win in the day-night Test in Adelaide, Australia went 1-0 up in the four-match series. The hosts could have an upper hand in the second Test because the Indian side is going to be without two key players – Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. While Shami has been ruled out for at least six weeks after suffering a wrist fracture in the opening Test, Kohli has returned to India for the birth of his first child.

In the absence of Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane is expected to lead Team India in the remaining three Tests in their ongoing 2020-21 Down Under tour.

Australia's Playing XI: Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c&wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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