IND V AUS | BORDER - GAVASKAR TROPHY |
4TH TEST, GABBA BRISBANE PREVIEW
Little to lose because they have the trophy -- in their hold for the past six years -- to defend. Even if they lose at the Gabba, they'll be returning home with their head held high.
They have won back the hearts of their fans after their heroic efforts in Melbourne and Sydney. They are in Brisbane with several injuries, including the stomach strain to lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
It's the Aussies who are hurting from their bruised ego having failed to go up in the 4-Test series. They'll galvanize every strategy and firepower to ensure they have the Indians on the mat (read losing major sessions of play).
The record favours the hosts. They have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988 and will be taking the field on Friday 24-0 at this venue against visiting teams.
India have lost five matches and drawn one here. It's tough to expect a depleted India, without star allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, to get that elusive win.
"His all-round performance is going to be a huge loss for India, for sure. They'll find it hard to replace him at that No.7 position," Wide World Of Sports quoted former Australia captain Mark Taylor saying about Jadeja.
You know Team India cannot ask for immediate replacement from India due to the Covid-19 quarantine regulation.
However, the large India entourage that left for Australia still has a decent 11 that is capable of either winning or playing out a draw starting Friday.
They can afford to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Hanuma Vihari if the team thinktank shows courage and faith in those who have been warming the benches so far on this tour.
Here's a fit playing 11 that coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Ajinkya Rahane may pick and play with:
Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (w-k), Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Kuldeep Yadav.
They also have allrounder (bowler who can bat) Washington Sundar as an option although the Gabba pitch prepared by the curator is likely to be replete with pace and bounce.
Here are 5 reasons that can help India win:
1. Retaining self-belief and the CIA qualities
They could have quickly and easily embraced dejection after their shock 36 in the second innings at Adelaide and subsequent 8-wicket loss.
However, a revamped India guided by stand-in captain Rahane surprised their own fans and the Aussies by winning the Melbourne Test. If this wasn't enough, they fought until the last ball in Sydney to ensure the series remains alive at 1-all.
These two Tests brought out the self-belief as well as the CIA (Character, Intent, Attitude) qualities out on display from Rahane and his bruised men.
Starting Friday, these qualities alone can ensure India win sessions and dominate the final Test.
2. No Bad Balls, Run Out, Reckless Batting
Whether they win or lose the toss, Rahane and his men can make this a memorable tour if each member of the playing 11 show professional discipline that an ICC top three Test team is required to.
The Aussies may recover from lapses in catching or batting because they have a world renowned potent bowling quartet ready to decimate the opposition with several strategies.