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With Ravichandran Ashwin ruled out with a side strain for the 2nd Test, India have a selection dilemma at their hands heading in to the Perth Test at the new Optus Stadium, starting Friday, December 14.

ALSO READ: R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma ruled out of 2nd Test; Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja in 13-member squad

Rohit Sharma scored 37 and at Adelaide and while he got out to rash shots in the both the inning, he 37 was, for what it’s worth, pleasing and confidence inducing coming at No.6.

ALSO READ: Virat Kohli’s India can retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with victory in Perth

Four-pronged pace attack with Vihari as fifth bowling option

Ashwin played a pivotal role in the first Test at Adelaide – which India won by 31 runs – taking six wickets and while India have added Ravindra Jadeja as his replacement in the 13-member squad announced today, looking at the green track at the Optus stadium, India may as well go in with an four-pronged pace attack, adding either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Umesh Yadav, with Hanuma Vihari as the fifth bowling option.

The last time Vihari played a Test, in England, his only Test so far, he scored 56 and claimed three wickets.

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If that happens it will be the first time since Johannesburg in January earlier this year, that India could go with a full pace attack. Of course, that could change if Jadeja is preferred ahead of Vihari.

Jadeja lone specialist spinner with four pacers

Or they could add Jadeja as the lone specialist spinner at the expense of a better batsmen in Vihari and still go with four pacers. This means Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant may be bumped up at No.6 and Jadeja bats at No.7. Jadeja has been in and out of the Indian Test setup, but the last time he played a Test, against West Indies, he scored 100* and claimed 7 wickets in the two-match Test series.

In England,  he scored 86* and claimed 7/258 in the only match he played at The Oval.

Jadeja, Vihari and three pacers

The third option will be to replace both Ashwin and Rohit with Jadeja and Vihari and go with the three pacers – Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.

If four pacers – will it be Bhuvneshwar or Umesh?

But, if India choose to go with four pacers who will they pick to partner the three quicks. Will it be Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Umesh Yadav? While Yadav is erratic, he is best suited among the duo to exploit the pace and bounce of the new Perth track.

However, with Umesh’s inclusion, India will most definitely miss out on batting depth. But, the last Umesh played  Tests, against West Indies, 6/88 and 4/45, to walk away with the Man-of-the-Match award.

Bhuvneshwar is a far better batsman than Umesh and with Ashwin gone, India may explore the idea of strengthening their batting. If both Jadeja and Vihari play at Perth with Bhuvneshwar the lower-middle order – No, 6, 7, 8 and 9 will have players with enough batting credentials in Vihari, Pant, Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar.

But there is a bit question mark over Bhuvnehwar’s match fitness. Since his return from injury that ruled him out of the entire England series, the UP quick has been lackluster. He last played a Test earlier this year in January against South Africa. claiming ten wickets across four innings.

The three pacers, Ishant, Shami and Bumrah did the job in Adelaide, so there is no reason to believe they can’t get it done at Perth. While Ashwin’s role in supporting the the three quicks was huge, that role can be distributed among Vihari and Jadeja was well.