Depleted India out to breach Australia’s Gabba fortress

Afp, Brisbane

14 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Depleted India out to breach Australia’s Gabba fortress

This file photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows India's Ravichandran Ashwin, right, fist-bumping with Australia's captain Tim Paine at the end of the third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. –AFP photo

Injury-hit India head to Australia's Gabba fortress for Friday's final Test with high hopes of retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy after securing an epic draw in Sydney to leave the series locked at 1-1.

The visitors only need to avoid defeat in Brisbane after their heroics in Sydney, when they batted out the final day against Australia's much-vaunted bowling attack.

Australia have come under fire for captain Tim Paine's sledging and accusations that Steve Smith deliberately scuffed up batsman Rishabh Pant's guard during the tense fifth day. Allegations of racist abuse from the crowd also overshadowed the Test.

But Australia will be optimistic of snatching a series win at the Gabba, where they are unbeaten in more than three decades, especially as India have been hit by succession of injuries.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja became the latest ruled out on Wednesday after dislocating his left thumb in Sydney, while Indian media reported that fast-bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah could miss out with an abdominal strain. The visitors were already without experienced quicks Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, and batsman KL Rahul, while captain Virat Kohli is on paternity leave.

If Bumrah cannot play, their already inexperienced attack will be led by Mohammed Siraj, who has only played two Tests, alongside Navdeep Saini who made his debut at Sydney plus one of the uncapped T. Natarajan or Shardul Thakur.

They also have doubts over the fitness of number six batsman Hanuma Vihari, who tore his hamstring during his 161-ball vigil for 23 runs that helped earn the unlikely draw on Monday.

Australia have their own injury worries with young opener Will Pucovski facing an anxious wait after suffering a partial dislocation of his right shoulder while fielding in Sydney.

Langer said that if Pucovski wasn't fit, Marcus Harris would likely step in as opener alongside David Warner, who is also not 100 percent as he continues to recover from a groin strain.

 


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