Only 3 days after Australia's last session win in Adelaide, Australia and India are back at it again at the Gabba. Much has changed in that short period with both sides coming into this game with a new captain on top multiple changes to each line up.
Here are my 5 key issues upon which I think the result will hinge:
1. Oh Captain, my Captain: how will Steve Smith fill the shoes of Michael Clarke?
I have been a vocal advocate of Steve Smith's elevation to the captaincy of the Australian cricket and now the day is here I am looking forward to seeing how he leads the team into battle. Generational change has always been problematic for the Australian team so this move is one to be applauded. Smith faces a massive challenge in this game with 2 significant players in Harris and Clarke being out of the line up. Smith's captaincy against the experience of MS Dhoni will be vital to any Australian win.
2. How will the Gabba wicket play?
By all reports the Gabba wicket for this test match is a bit greener than normal for this time of year. Given the rain we have had in Brisbane it is no surprise that the wicket is green and thus one could expect that it will seam around a bit particularly with the new ball this morning. Equally, we have seen a lot of Gabba green tops over the years and time and again once batters get in on such a wicket they can score and score quickly. There might be early benefits to a team bowling first but they will have to bowl well to reap those rewards.
3. Different test, same question: will Chris Rogers score runs?
I posed this question before the 1st test and I will pose it again now: whilst David Warner has been dynamic at the top of the order for Australia, Chris Rogers has struggled. If Australia bat first on this wicket all of his years of batting ring craft will be needed to get Australia through to lunch. He needs runs to hold his place in the team given the other players who are in the queue behind him and in form.
4. Shaun Marsh: will he last the game?
There is only one hamstring that has been more problematic in cricket over the last 24 months than Michael Clarke's and that is Shaun Marsh's. Injury prone and averaging 36 in first class cricket, the selectors have taken a punt on Marsh. One can only hope that the faith is repaid by Marsh both with the willow and staying on the field.
5. Can India take 20 wickets?
This will be the quickest and bounciest wicket the Indians will play on this summer and they must take advantage of it. The Indian bowlers only took 12 wickets in the first test at Adelaide and will need to take the full complement to even get close to winning this game. Varun Aaron could present as the key man for India on this wicket: he bowls swiftly and can bowl wicket balls. If he can keep things tight between wicket balls he could be a weapon for India.
This will be a great game played at the best ground for watching cricket in the country. I am, of course, tipping an Australian win. As I look out my office window 27 floors up the weather looks perfect for cricket. The first ball will be bowled at 10am.