Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, 4th Test preview: Can injury-ridden India salvage pride at Brisbane decider?
First Published Jan 14, 2021, 12:52 PM IST
India and Australia are engaged in a heated four-Test series, as the former defends the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. With the series locked 1-1, it reaches its final stop at Brisbane. However, it would be an uphill task for the visitor, judging by the fact that almost the entire squad in injured.
After a gruelling and competitive three Tests, India and Australia reach the final stop, in Brisbane, for the final Test from Friday, as the former defends the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The series is tied at 1-1 and it would be a strenuous task for the visitor to salvage not just a win, but even a draw, as injuries mar almost the entire Indian contingent.
The Indians were going right until the second Test. However, the beginning of the third Test saw a flurry of injuries kicking in, while the third Test in Sydney also saw three or more Indians suffering further injuries. We present the match preview, with uncertainties surrounding the Indian squad for this confusing, yet thrilling, final Test.
Current form: Going by the current state, India has had mixed luck so far. Coming off a loss in the opening day-night Test, followed by a win and a draw, it is certainly confusing to say what lies next for it. However, with India losing three of its last five away Tests, it will have to grind it in Brisbane. As for Australia, it too has had similar luck. Nonetheless, with lesser injury concerns, it remains on the driver's seat.
Team composition: Analysing the team, India has a batting-heavy squad right now. India has no choice, but to bolster its batting, as with most of their prime bowlers being injured, it will now have to rely on its willows heavily. As for Australia, it has a balanced squad. However, with India focusing on its batting, the host would likely move in with a bowling-heavy XI to counter the Indian batsmen.
Injury concerns: Well, what do we say about this. Believe it or not, but as many as nine players are on the injury list from Team India. It is out of our mind to analyse who plays or misses out, as we will have to wait until the team announces the playing XI. Meanwhile, as for the injured ones, it's Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mayank Agarwal and Jasprit Bumrah. As for Australia, pacer James Pattinson continues to remain doubtful, while young opener Will Pucovski has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Head-to-head: Considering their head-on clashes so far, of the 101 Tests, Australia has won 43, with India winning 29. In Australia, the sides have clashed on 51 occasions, with the host winning 30, while visitor has won eight. In Brisbane, the sides have played six Tests, with Australia winning five, while India is yet to taste a win.
Weather and pitch report: The weather in Brisbane would be mild warmer, with temperature likely to be 30 degrees, along with a 65% chance of humidity, while climate is expected to stay cloudy, along with strong prospects of rain on at least three days. Unlike the drop-in pitches at other venues, the pitch here is a natural one, while it is the second-most bounciest track in the country after Perth. Nonetheless, it also assists batsmen at times, with an average first innings score of 337. Batting or fielding first hardly matters here.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin/Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj.
Australia (confirmed): David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
Batsmen: Labuschagne (c), Smith and Rahane- Labuschagne and Smith can play as the openers here, while Rahane can give the top-order stability. Labuschagne's good form makes him the captain.
Wicketkeepers: Paine and Pant- Paine can surely bat in the middle-order, while Pant seems to be the man in form with the bat.
All-rounder: Ashwin- He has been in a brilliant form, especially with the ball, as no matter what the track is, he is sure to come up with a top-notch performance.
Bowlers: Cummins, Lyon, Starc, Hazlewood and Siraj- Cummins would lead the pace department, along with Starc, Hazlewood and Siraj, who has been lethal in the series so far. Lyon is is the only specialised spinner here, as he has been heavily impactful throughout the series. Cummins deadly from makes him the vice-captain.
Players to watch out
Rohit: The senior Indian opener was decent in the third Test, but needs to convert it into a significant knock, as the team management would heavily rely on him, with an already depleted squad.
Warner: As for the Australians, Warner had surprised everyone with his below-par performance in Sydney, while they would want him to go all guns blazing in Brisbane.
Ashwin: Ashwin has been the most effective spinner for India in the series. Now, with him being the only specialised one for Team India, he has no choice but to come up with the performance of his life, as his side would heavily rely on him.
Date and day: January 15, 2021 (Friday)
Venue: The Gabba, Brisbane
Time: 5:30 AM IST
Where to watch (TV): Sony Six, Ten 1 and Ten 3 (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Sony LIV
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