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Eye on weather and Mitchell Starc fitness

Australia are under pressure to force a result on the last day of the final Test at the Gabba
Steve Smith.

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 19.01.21, 01:34 AM

Besides the weather, Mitchell Starc’s fitness could be a concern for Australia, who are under pressure to force a result on the last day of the final Test at the Gabba.
Starc grabbed at his hamstring during the only over he bowled so far in India’s second innings before rain forced early stumps on the penultimate day. The Australians, though, believe Starc would be available to bowl given how “tough” he is.

“I saw the same thing walking back. I think Mitchell was grabbing at his right hamstring, so I’m sure he’ll get assessed by the medical staff,” Steve Smith said during a virtual conference facilitated by Sony Pictures Sports Network.

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“One thing I know about Mitchell is that he’s tough and has played through some injuries before, and got the job done as well. So he’ll hopefully be good to go on the final day.”

Starc hasn’t been too effective in the Test series in the first place, bowling just a few occasional good spells so far across the four matches. 
Smith, however, feels Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green too would play a vital role for Australia because of the cracks on the pitch.

Whether Australia should have declared their second innings is another talking point, especially given the weather forecast for Tuesday. But Smith is staying optimistic.
“The game’s in a nice place for us. The wicket has started to play a few tricks, a couple of balls shot up, so it’s just going to be about bowling in the good areas and allowing the natural variation to do its work, and hopefully, we can hold on to all the chances,” he said.

‘Draw equals loss’ 
Ricky Ponting feels a drawn Test series against a depleted India would be a worse result for Australia than the loss they suffered in the 2018-19 series. “A drawn series will be worse than the loss a couple of years ago,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“That’s the way I look at it, considering how hard India have found it going through 20 players in a series, Australia having (David) Warner back for the last couple of games and Smith back for all of them which they didn’t have last time around.”



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