Australia are set to take on India in the final Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, which will begin on 15th January at The Gabba in Brisbane.
India's sensational draw at the SCG leaves the series tied at 1-1 ahead of the fourth and final Test of an outstanding and competitive tour. India batted out 131 overs in the fourth innings amidst an injury crisis and finished on 334/5 while chasing a mammoth total of 407.
Contributions from the Man of the Match Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski, and Cameron Green enabled Australia to post totals of 300+ in both their innings. India responded strongly in their second innings with the bat after getting bundled out for 244 in the first innings.
Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Rishabh Pant scored the bulk of the runs for India. Later, Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin formed a terrific partnership and battled tremendous pain to play out 262 balls, scoring 62 runs.
With the series in balance, Australia has almost a full squad ahead of the fourth Test. The same can't be said about Team India, who have been plagued by injuries. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of the fourth Test. Ravichandran Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari, and Mayank Agarwal might not feature against the Aussies either.
However, despite the injuries that Team India is dealing with, we can expect a close contest in this series decider given the fight that we saw from the side in the third Test.
Date: January 15- 19, 2021 (Friday- Tuesday)
Time: 05:30 AM (IST), 00:00 AM (GMT), 10:00 AM (Local)
Venue: The Gabba, Brisbane
This match could have a lot of rain interruptions, with showers forecasted for Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. The average temperature should be around 30 degrees Celsius.
The Gabba is another wicket that could be batsman-friendly but is also likely to have something in it for the bowlers. While the pacers might have to slog harder to extract something off the wicket, the spinners can get some extra bounce in Brisbane.
Australia is likely to go with the same playing XI from the third Test for this game and Matthew Wade is likely to be given another opportunity in the middle-order.
Predicted XI: Will Pucovski, David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(C/WK), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood
India are expected to make a host of forced changes to their lineup after suffering an injury crisis. It's a toss-up between Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan when it comes to Jasprit Bumrah's replacement in the side. Washington Sundar or Kuldeep Yadav are the options available to replace Jadeja.
Wriddhiman Saha is likely to replace Vihari if he fails the fitness test while Ashwin could be replaced by any of the above-mentioned bench options if he isn't fit.
Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(WK), Hanuma Vihari/Wriddhiman Saha, Washington Sundar/Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur/Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur/T Natarajan, Mohammed Siraj, and Navdeep Saini.
Despite the tremendous grit and character that India showed while drawing the SCG Test, Australia will head into the final match of the series as the favorites. Their tremendous record at the Gabba, coupled with the injuries to several of India's match-winners makes them likely to win.
Prediction: Australia to win
TV and live streaming details
TV: Sony Sports Network
Live Streaming: Sony LivPublished 13 Jan 2021, 20:06 IST