Brisbane, January 14
After denting the ego of the mighty Australians with a gritty, miraculous draw in the third Test in Sydney, Ajinkya Rahane’s wounded Indians would need to play a do-or-die game for one final time in the Australian summer, in the fourth Test, which starts tomorrow on the liveliest track in the series.
Australia need a win to snatch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from India, but a draw would be enough for India to keep it for another couple of years.
On the fifth and final day of the Sydney Test, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari fought in a manner that gave their massive fan base in India reason to cheer and hope for another spirited show in Brisbane.
Others were also ready to put their body in the line of fire — Jasprit Bumrah played on with an abdominal strain and didn’t want to come off the field; despite a dislocated thumb, Ravindra Jadeja was prepared to come in to fight it out. They battled against everybody — some racist ones in the stands, the abusive one behind the stumps, and the lethal pacemen of the home team.
The ‘new India’ that Virat Kohli raved about before the series — it seemed an empty phrase after the 36 all out in Adelaide — might be something, after all, if the evidence of Day 5 of the Sydney Test is any evidence.
But now comes the Gabba at Brisbane, a venue where Australia haven’t lost a Test since 1988.
India are without Jadeja and Bumrah, the latest injury absentees, and it couldn’t have become worse for India on a fast, greenish, bouncy track.
And Mayank Agarwal got hurt after being hit on the forearm in the nets and Ashwin is battling back spasms.
“We will take a call tomorrow,” batting coach Vikram Rathour said about India’s team composition. “The medical team is working with all the injured players. If Bumrah is fit, he plays, if he is not fit, he doesn’t play.” — TNS, agencies