With India’s long home season drawing to a close, every fan will be looking forward to the fitting end to it with a series decider against Australia. The teams will face off in Dharamsala for the 4th Test of the series which is tied at 1-1, a scenario very few expected.
The biggest concern for India is the fitness of their skipper Virat Kohli who injured his shoulder while fielding in the 3rd Test. If he indeed misses out, the hosts will not only miss his batting but more so his leadership qualities on the field.
Kohli’s absence will mean that Rahane will have to lead the side in the all-important match. The selectors have called young Shreyas Iyer as cover for Kohli, who didn’t show up for a practice session yesterday.
With India’s opening pair Vijay and Rahul clicking in the last game, that is one less worry for the hosts. Rahane’s form has still been an issue for India with youngster Karun Nair yet to leave a mark on the series.
Vijay could also miss the Test due a shoulder niggle. Jadeja has undoubtedly been the star for India this series, having spun the ball even when the conditions weren’t too conducive for the spinners.
The long season seems to have caught up with Ashwin has he didn’t look much effective in the last game. India are likely to go in with Umesh and Ishant as the seamers for the 4th Test.
Dharamsala will provide some swing for the new ball bowlers which could give Bhuvneshwar Kumar a chance to play in the match.
Player To Watch Out For:
For once, the spotlight among the spinners is not on Ashwin but on Ravindra Jadeja. The left arm spinner’s immaculate line and length and patience has been brilliant to watch this series. Jadeja has also contributed down the order with a couple of important fifties.
Probable XI: 1. M. Vijay/Abhinav Mukund, 2. KL Rahul, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (capt)/Shreyas Iyer, 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7. R Ashwin, 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. Jayant Yadav, 10. Ishant Sharma/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11. Umesh Yadav.
Australia’s spirited performance at Ranchi will give them a confidence boost in the series decider at Dharamsala. Hardly anyone gave Australia a chance to be such a fierce competitor of India and that too in their own backyard.
Smith’s batting has been revelation for the visitors as the Australian skipper just keeps on piling up runs. Along with him, the likes of Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh have also impressed with their batting.
David Warner’s loss of runs has hurt the Aussies especially because of the pace he bats with. The Australians will be hoping that his run-drought ends in the picturesque Dharamsala which will make its Test debut on Saturday.
Pat Cummins’ incredible comeback has somewhat helped them plug the hole Mitchell Starc left in the side. Hazlewood has been brilliant with his consistency and so have the spinners.
Smith didn’t bowl Maxwell much in the last game, an issue which the captain needs to resolve. Bowling over 150 overs in the last match means that Australians will have some tired bowlers in the side and the 5th bowler needs to the job of putting in some overs.
With regards to their team combination, the visitors will probably go for the same side that played in Ranchi. Although, since the conditions will help the seamers a little more, Stoinis could also be considered.
Player To Watch Out For:
Nathan Lyon has been fairly overshadowed by Steve O’Keefe this series with the latter having bowled more overs as well. The experienced off-spinner will have to step up if the Australians want pull off a coup and win the series.
Probable XI: 1. David Warner, 2. Matt Renshaw, 3. Steven Smith (capt), 4. Shaun Marsh, 5. Peter Handscomb, 6. Glenn Maxwell, 7. Matthew Wade (wk), 8. Pat Cummins, 9. Steve O’Keefe, 10. Nathan Lyon, 11. Josh Hazlewood.