What can India do to make it 3-1 in Sydney?
The Sydney weather on the fourth day of play might have made Virat Kohli a little worried, but not much. He is already set to be the first Indian captain to win a Test series in Australia. The scoreline will read 2-1 at the worst and 3-1 in the best case scenario for India.
After the play resumed today, Kuldeep Yadav's five-for ensured Australia's tail didn't wag for a long time. For a young chinaman bowler like Kuldeep, achieving such a feat will always be very special, considering it is his first Test down under.
At that point in time, India had 35 overs remaining for the day and 90 more of the last day. 125 overs seemed good enough to skittle out Australia within 325 runs, factoring in the form Indian bowlers are in and obviously with the form (or the lack of it) of the Australian batsman.
However, the equation changed very soon, as bad lights forced another interruption and the downpour eventually making sure Australia ended the day's play at 6/0, with a realistic chance of escaping a 3-1 scoreline. With the weather likely to play a role tomorrow, here's what Kohli could do to do enforce a result in India's favor.
India could come out all attacking with nothing to lose and target to get the Australians out in 60 overs, instead of 90 taking a buffer of 30 overs or 1 session. For that to happen, they could have a very attacking field, luring the host batsmen into drives and forced shots. Unlike day 3 when India had an in-and-out field for Marcus Harris, they could try to have more men in catching positions with open gaps.
Jasprit Bumrah should bowl with the wind and into it, helping him get more pace with his trademark accuracy. Use the other end for a spinner. Bumrah-Kuldeep and Mohammad Shami-Ravindra Jadeja could form two pairs as they did well in the first Australian innings. This also makes sure that the batsman does not get adjusted to just one kind of pace.
Use silly mid-off and silly mid-wicket judiciously, as a few Australian batsmen have tended to miscue drives, or chip in the air frequently. With the batsmen's confidence very low, these field positions might come into play. Creative use of this field helped Kohli get Marnus Labuschagne out in the first innings, thanks to a fine low catch by Ajinkya Rahane
The Indians should employ DRS wisely in close calls. Those calls might make or break it. Nathan Lyon got slammed by Ricky Ponting for not reviewing the LBW off Kuldeep. At that time, Australia had two reviews left.
Lastly, India could do well to try out some ODI tricks like yorkers, slow balls, (it worked on Shaun Marsh and almost on Mitchell Starc), slow bouncers, and the clever mix-up of line and lengths. Bumrah is their go-to man here, again. He will be hoping to end this fabulous series on a high.
Given the intensity with which Kohli's India comes to the field, it is no rocket science that they would be all pumped up to make it 3-1.