Injury-ravaged India look to tame Australia at Gabba
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Australia and India have it all to play for when their enthralling, physically punishing series reaches a muchanticipated conclusion when the fourth Test gets underway at the Gabba on Friday. India's courageous great escape in Sydney set up the high-stakes finale, with the hard-fought series tied at 1-1.
India have not named their playing XI for the fourth Test against Australia and will be announcing it on Friday before the match starts at The Gabba as they are monitoring the injuries of the players.
This was informed by batting coach Vikram Rathour on Thursday.
"We're aware that this is a big Test match … there's no doubt about that," Australian skipper Tim Paine said. "But it doesn't change the way that we go about it … we've just got to try to execute." "We feel like when we do that we can beat any team in the world."
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is suffering from an abdominal strain and is a doubtful starter for the series decider. If he doesn't play, the visitors can bring in Shardul Thakur to join Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini in the pace department.
With KL Rahul returning home due to a wrist injury and Mayank Agarwal hit on the hand at the nets, India also face a dilemma as they look to bring in someone to replace Hanuma Vihari, who injured his hamstring during the drawn third Test and is unlikely to play as the No. 6 batsman.
There are also concerns over Ravichandran Ashwin's fitness as he woke up with a back tweak on the final day of the Sydney Test and then suffered a hit on his ribs by a short delivery from Pat Cummins.
Ravindra Jadeja has already been ruled out with a fractured thumb.
Meanwhile, Australia have already announced its playing 11 in which they have replaced injured Will Pucovski with Marcus Harris.
The four-match series is currently tied at 1-1 with Australia winning the first Test in Adelaide while India winning the second in Melbourne.
The winner in Brisbane will claim the coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and Australia also have the added incentive of moving to the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings with a 2-1 series win.
That result would also see Paine's men maintain first place in the ICC World Test Championship, while India – in second spot heading into the series finale – can move up to No.1 if they can conjure a victory.
A draw would see India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and leave New Zealand atop the Test rankings. The odds are against the depleted tourists, with Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Hanuma Vihari all adding to India's injury woes to varying degrees.
But it would be foolhardy to write them off after their final day heroics at the SCG that salvaged a famous draw. Australia have had to deal with their own injury concerns, with Marcus Harris replacing Will Pucovski (shoulder) at the top of the batting order.
"Harry's just a no-fuss, very good player," Paine said of the opener. "He's been working his backside off in our hub for a while now. He's had huge numbers in Sheffield Shield cricket and deserves the opportunity."
"He's someone we certainly enjoy having in and around our group and someone we have full confidence in that when he gets in and gets a start, he'll cash in and make the most of it."
The home side hasn't lost a Test match at the storied Brisbane venue since 1988, with Paine confident the pitch will be up to its usual high standard. On an individual note, Nathan Lyon will play his 100th Test match.
The veteran off-spinner becomes the 13th Australian male to do so, and while his focus is firmly on helping his side to a series win, he also has the opportunity to take his 400th Test wicket.
"I'm pretty excited about this one ... (it's) very humbling," Lyon said. "I look at the other 12 guys who have played over 100 Test matches of cricket for Australia and they're pure legends in my eyes."
Australia playing 11 for 4th Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan