|Finished.369 & 294 - 336 & 329/7|
With an absolute thriller having transpired in the form of the third Test between Australia and India, we now head to the Gabba after a ridiculous series of changed timings that saw the match being brought all the way from the 27th of the month to the 15th. While the series is tied evenly, the states of each squad are vastly different. Granted, Australia have their fair share of injuries and unavailabilities, but India are just about depleted as far as players go. The list of their injuries could literally form a full squad on its own. However, they also showed tremendous tenacity to draw the 3rd Test from a position where they looked doomed, earning plaudits from all around the cricket world. This should boost their morale quite a bit. That being said, the Gabba is one of Australia’s best grounds, and the Baggy Greens will be eagerly waiting to hit the field. Before the red gets to roll on the green, let’s take a look at the two teams.
Australia predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match
Predicted XI: Tim Paine (c/wk), Marcus Harris, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
Although young Will Pucovski won’t be playing, Australia still have decent pickings. As long as their batsmen survive the spin India will have to offer on the Gabba pitch, they should have the upper hand. In the previous match, Australia started off very well, but then collapsed to end the innings relatively prematurely. Will Pucovski’s 62, Marnus Labuschagne’s 91, and Steven Smith’s 131 were the standout scores in an innings otherwise devoid of quality. When it came their turn to bowl, Pat Cummins starred with 4, and Josh Hazlewood took 2, but it was an insane trio of run outs that made sure India were bowled out for just 244.
In the second innings, the Aussies found stability in the form of Labuschagne and Smith once again, with Cameron Green and Tim Paine providing extra impetus that saw them declare at 312/6, setting a near-impossible 4th innings target of 407. Although their bowlers bowled their hearts out, and Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood managed to strike twice each, they just couldn’t get any more wickets than that in 131 long and arduous overs, with the match being drawn.
AUS Key players
Steven Smith: Arguably Australia’s best Test batsman of the 21st century, Smith will be an integral component of the Aussie batting lineup.
Marnus Labuschagne: He may not have Smith’s experience, but this up-and-coming batsman has been absolutely fantastic in his own way.
Nathan Lyon: The spinner hasn’t had the kind of series he would have hoped for, but all that can easily change in Brisbane.
Josh Hazlewood: It’s extremely difficult to choose one out of Australia’s trio of speedsters, but for this match, our pick is Hazlewood.
India predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match
Predicted XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Washington Sundar, Thangarasu Natarajan, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj.
Over the years, Indians have proudly proclaimed that they bleed the blue of their jerseys, but in the case of this ongoing series, their players are almost literally bleeding. I’ve been watching cricket for almost 30 years, and I can’t remember a series where so many players were injured at the same time. Nevertheless, their spirit might take them through yet. In the last match, a pre-injury Ravindra Jadeja bowled superbly in the first innings to pick up 4 wickets, with (also before his injury) Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini (he’s fine, thankfully) picking up a couple each to restrict Australia to a relatively ordinary total after they looked to be running away with the match. Their batting wasn’t as good, sadly. Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara got half centuries, but the only other player to cross 30 was Rishabh Pant, and India’s first innings came to a close at a poor 244.
In the second innings, there was no Jadeja, and although Saini and Ashwin got two each, India’s 4-bowler squad weren’t able to stop Australia from doing what they wanted. In the fourth and final innings, however, India showed how resolute they can be with their backs against the wall. It’s not everyday that Hanuma Vihari’s 23 off 161 and Ashwin’s 39 off 128 are as important as Pant’s 97 off 118, but that’s just the kind of day it was. Not to be forgotten, Rohit Sharma’s 52 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 77 were also excellent. Despite Australia’s best efforts, India were able to play out the 5th day to get one of the best draws you’ll ever see.
IND Key players
Ajinkya Rahane: He may not have done much with the bat in the last Test, but we have a feeling he will this time. Plus his mere presence and captaincy go a long way.
Rishabh Pant: The youngster’s belligerent 97 was one of the most remarkable Test knocks by any Indian ever, and we believe it was just the start - provided he’s fit to play the match.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Another player whose presence in the playing XI will be announced before the match, Ashwin will be extremely important to the Indian cause if he does play.
Washington Sundar: Most likely the replacement for Ravindra Jadeja, Sundar was great in the IPL, and he might just be the wild card India need.
Australia vs India 4th Test weather and pitch conditions
The saddest part about this Test is the fact that we might not see a full 5 days of play. Despite it being a pretty hot day, there’s a 50% chance of rain with possible thunder tomorrow, and although the chance for rain reduces the following day, it will still be present. The third and fourth days will be just as susceptible to rain as the first, and the 5th will revert back to being similar to the second. Overall, one can expect the match to be interrupted many times by rain.
The pitch at the Gabba is good for batsmen and bowlers early on, but as play continues, it will go more and more in the favour of bowlers - especially spinners. Whoever wins the toss will want to bat first, and if they can play through to early in the second day, they will have a decisive advantage.
Can Australia add insult to a very injured India? Or will the Indians’ tenacity, resilience, and spirit pay dividends in the form of a famous, unlikely win? Find out if our Australia vs India 4th Test predictions come true starting Friday!
|AUS Top Batsman:|
|IND Top Batsman:|
|AUS Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|IND Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|S Smith/M Labuschagne/C Green (AUS), R Pant/A Rahane/C Pujara (IND)|
|Players to score a century:|
|S Smith/M Labuschagne (AUS), R Pant/A Rahane (IND)|