Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes the Aussies are favorites to win the fourth Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Australia haven't lost a single Test at the venue since 1988, making it one of their favorite hunting grounds. Ponting feels Australia's proud record in Brisbane would motivate them to come out all guns blazing against the visitors.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Ricky Ponting also explained the problems Team India might face in their selection of the playing XI ahead of the fourth Test.
With both Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja likely to be ruled out due to injuries, the 46-year-old feels the hosts will have a more settled team.
"Australia will have the edge going to Brisbane. One, (Australia's Gabba) record and two, if Will's OK then they won't have to make any changes and if Will's not they'll only have to make one change and they have had a pretty dominant performance in this game," Ricky Ponting said.
"India again are going to have a couple of injury concerns out of this game so they've got to find another couple of guys to bring in," he further added.
Ricky Ponting backs both Indian wicketkeepers Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha to play in Brisbane
Ricky Ponting also reckoned Team India will play both their wicketkeepers Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha in Brisbane. With the visitors' injury woes rising, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal are the only two options they have available as pure batsmen.
But since both of them have been in poor form, Ponting believes India might play Pant as a pure batsman at No. 6, while the gloves will be donned by Saha.
Pant, through his blistering knock of 97 on day five of the Sydney Test, proved that he is good enough to be selected as a pure batsman in Team India's playing XI.
"If they (Team India) were to play another batter, they could play that batter at five and Rishabh stays at six and Saha can come in at seven," he said. "That looks pretty good to me," Ricky Ponting noted.
Young Australia opener Will Pucovski had an impressive Test debut in Sydney as he scored a well-made 62 in the first innings. However, he injured his right shoulder while fielding on day five and was taken for scans.
Ricky Ponting feels if Pucovski is not available for the fourth Test, Matthew Wade must be promoted as a makeshift opener, and Travis Head must be called back into the hosts' middle-order.
"The thing I'm worried about with (Pucovski), a guy playing his first Test match, not to be back out in the field at the end of the day - to me that's a real worry. It probably makes more sense to go back to having Wade go back to the top and bring Travis Head into the middle order," Ricky Ponting further added.
Team India's spirits will be at an all-time high after a morale-boosting draw, while the Aussies will rue the dropped catches that cost them dearly.
With the Test series level at 1-1, the climax to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy promises to be an absolute humdinger. The fourth Test between India and Australia in Brisbane will start from January 15.Published 11 Jan 2021, 19:30 IST