India brace for bounce and carry at Gabba
The determination and dour approach shown by the Indians at the SCG is a thing of the past. The focus is now on the Gabba in Brisbane, which hosts the fourth and final Test of the series from Friday.
Traditionally, Brisbane has always had pitches that favour the quicks, though batsmen too get value for their shots. On this occasion as well, the wicket will most likely have good bounce and carry, and bowlers shouldn’t be frustrated like they were in Sydney.
“I’m very excited to get to the Gabba where there’s a bit more bounce than how it was at the MCG and the SCG. Definitely more than SCG, and I’m very excited about that.
“Knowing that if we keep doing our job with the Australian cricket team, the luck will keep changing here and there. We’ve just got to stay patient and see how we go,” off-spinner Nathan Lyon said during a virtual conference on Wednesday.
The common perception is that the track at the SCG was indeed flat with only three wickets falling on the final day of the third Test, which ended in a draw.
Things though could have been different had Australia captain Tim Paine not dropped as many as three catches behind the stumps.
Going by what Lyon suggests, it appears India would have gone into the Test with an even better mindset had Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav been fit. In the current scenario, there are still doubts over Bumrah’s place in the XI although the team management is hoping the pace spearhead will make himself available.
If Bumrah misses out, India’s bowling, particularly their pace attack, will be relatively raw with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin being the only experienced bowler in the line-up. Ashwin too is nursing back spasms.
If Bumrah is out, either Shardul Thakur or left-arm pacer T. Natarajan comes in, joining Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, who will be the other quicks.
The injury-ravaged Indian team, however, underwent their first training session at the Gabba, working out to field 11 fit players in the series-deciding game. Bumrah too accompanied the visiting team and had some discussions with bowling coach Bharat Arun.
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and others had their time out at nets, as did Kuldeep Yadav. Also part of the session were seamer Shardul and spinner all-rounder Washington Sundar.
“After an epic fightback in Sydney, it is time to regroup. We have begun our preparations for the final Test at the Gabba!” the BCCI posted on its Twitter handle.
Head coach Ravi Shastri, who was keeping a tab on the proceedings, addressed the team huddle. Shastri was also seen having a discussion with the rest of the support staff.
With Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari ruled out, it remains to be seen what combination India go with. Including both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha too is one option. Rishabh then plays as a specialist batsman, with Saha keeping himself busy behind the stumps.
Australia too are a worried lot because of the fitness of openers David Warner and Will Pucovski.
Pucovski has a 50-50 chance of overcoming a partial dislocation to his right shoulder to take his place at the top of the order, while Justin Langer expects Warner to play despite the opener expressing doubts before the Sydney Test about his ability to play in both matches.
- Match starts: 5.30am (IST) on Friday, live on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3