With the match saved at Sydney on the verge of defeat, the Indian team, which honors Australia, will face a challenge on the lively pitch of Gaba as its top players are not available to play the decisive Test due to injuries. Australia needs a win to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy but India’s work will go on from the draw as well.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant, who displayed immense patience and combativeness despite the pain in Sydney, won the hearts of millions of cricket lovers. Jasprit Bumrah played despite a hamstring strain and despite a broken thumb, Ravindra Jadeja was ready to play the same way Malcolm Marshall played with a broken wrist three decades ago. They responded to each attack appropriately, whether it was from the Australian bowlers or from the spectators sitting in the gallery making racist comments, or from a player bombarding them behind the stumps.
The new Indian team is ready to face every kind of adverse situation and that is why regular captain Virat Kohli is proud of it. Now this team has to play in the first Test of the new decade on a ground where Australia has not lost since 1988. There is no Jadeja or Bumrah in the team and the wicket is quite tough. At the same time, Mayank Agarwal was injured during net practice and Ashwin is suffering from back pain. Batting coach Vikram Rathore said in the press conference before the match, ‘We will take a decision on this tomorrow. The medical team is working with the injured players. If Bumrah is fit, he will play, otherwise he will be out.
On the other hand Australian captain Tim Paine will be happy that the decisive Test is being played on Gaba. Also in the Australian team, Will Pukowski is out due to injury, replaced by Marcus Harris. Penn said, “We like to play here because this wicket is fantastic. I know what that wicket will be like.”
He has indirectly warned the Indian team but Indian batting trinity Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma will be ready to face this challenge. Sydney’s troubleshooter Vihari is not in the squad but he has set an example and Pant would be expected to repeat the same performance.
The Indian camp can go with four bowlers instead of five. Agrawal will be fit at number three, while Rohit and Shubman Gill will start the innings. After that Pujara and Rahane will come. Ravindra Jadeja cannot be replaced by Prithvi Shaw or Wriddhiman Saha, but all-rounder Washington Sundar is being considered.
Bowling is a matter of concern as Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj have three Tests in total. Shardul Thakur bowled ten balls in his first Test two years ago. Rathore has kept Australia in mind by not clearing the picture about Bumrah but everyone knows that it is not in a position to play fast bowler.
Rahane’s Ranbankure is on the threshold of creating history and despite all the oddities, he is not among the few to easily kneel. The host team realizes this well.
Teams: India: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Jaspreet Bumrah, T Natarajan, Washington beautiful .
Australia: Tim Paine (captain), David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschen, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood.