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India can’t avoid batting first in Melbourne if they have the chance, says Mark Taylor

India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane needs to forget about the team’s Adelaide debacle and bat first if he has the opportunity in Melbourne, according to former Australian skipper Mark Taylor.

Fresh off being bowled out for the country’s lowest ever score of 36, Taylor admitted some sides would likely look to bowl first to avoid facing the Australian quicks on the opening morning.

Taylor, who captained Australia in 50 of his 104 Test matches, says even in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, India shouldn’t back away from putting their fragile batting lineup to the test on day one by electing to bowl, should they win the toss.

“I hope that’s not the way he’s (Rahane) thinking,” he told Wide World of Sports.

“India’s best chance is to put runs on the board. They’ve still got some very fine players. Obviously Kohli leaves a big hole in terms of batting and leadership, but they’ve still got (Cheteshwar) Pujara and Rahane.

“If they put runs on the board, they’ve got the bowling attack to take 10 wickets.

“If India have runs to play with, their bowlers can do the job.”

Largely forgotten in the washup of India’s disastrous 36 all out was the fact they held a first innings lead of 53 runs in Adelaide, a margin that would have been higher had they held their catches.

It’s why Taylor believes they need to treat their second innings collapse as an aberration.

“India can’t let one bad innings define their tour,” he explained.

“If you put the Adelaide match into perspective, they probably won the first two days. Obviously, they got belted on the third, but you’re allowed to have one bad day. The key will be to see how they bounce back.

“I think day one in Melbourne is absolutely crucial for India’s chances in the series.”

The absence of Kohli, who has returned to India for the birth of his first child, leaves a large void in the Indian middle-order.

Taylor added that while the loss of his batting makes India’s task more difficult, it’s not the only area where he’ll be missed.

“I think it’s certainly going to be tougher for them to bounce back with Kohli, obviously they’ve lost an outstanding batsman. But the bigger hole to fill is his leadership, and the drive he gives the side,” he said.

“That will be the area that Rahane and the team management will have to be conscious of, and I’m sure they will be.

“They’ll have been working hard, firstly to put Adelaide behind them, and secondly to make sure they hit the ground running on Boxing Day.”

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