Charge down the wicket with Test cricket tips as Australia and India meet in the decisive fourth and final encounter at the Gabba.
10:30 (AEDT), Fri 15th Jan @ The Gabba, Brisbane
History: Played 101: Australia 43 V India 29 (1 Tie, 28 Draws)
Last meeting: January 7-11, 2021: Draw at SCG
Final Thoughts: The scene is set for an epic Border-Gavaskar Trophy conclusion at the Gabba. A dramatic, simmering series is locked at 1-all heading into the fourth and final Test.
Australia won the day-night series opener in Adelaide by eight wickets after bowling India out for a paltry 36 in their second dig.
But India bounced back in style with an eight-wicket Boxing Day Test triumph. With Virat Kohli returning home, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane (112) led the underdogs brilliantly. Australia were bowled out for 195 and 200.
The third Test at the SCG ended in a draw after five days of pulsating cricket. Australia reached 338 in the first innings, but they arguably should have had more after Steve Smith (131) emerged from a lean run. Marnus Labuschagne (91) and debutant opener Will Pucovski (62) also sparkled.
Half-centuries from Shubman Gill (50) and Cheteshwar Pujara (50) were the highlights of India’s reply of 244. Pat Cummins (4/29) was superb with the ball for Australia.
Australia declared at 6/312 after fine knocks from Smith (81), Labuschagne (73) and Cameron Green (84). Chasing an unlikely 407, India briefly looked on track for one of the great Test wins as the watchful Pujara (77) and swashbuckling Rishabh Pant (97) put on 148 for the fourth wicket.
After the pair departed, Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin bravely survived for half a day to thwart the hosts and salvage a draw. The result was somewhat overshadowed by Smith’s and Aussie skipper Tim Paine’s controversial gamesmanship. Paine also had a dreadful final day behind the stumps, dropping three vital catches.
War of attrition takes toll on both sides
But the injuries continue to mount for India. Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of the decider, while Vihari, Ashwin and strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah are all in serious doubt. Their absence would take the total of unavailable players to an eye-watering nine.
Australia are far 100 percent physically either. Backing up just three days after a gruelling Day 5 in the field in Sydney will be a huge ask for their bowling unit. Particularly if India win the toss and bat first. Meanwhile, Pucovski (shoulder) is in doubt – with Marcus Harris the likely replacement if he is sidelined – but David Warner looks set to play despite clearly still being hampered by a leg problem.
The home side are nevertheless hot $1.44 favourites to account for depleted India and lift the silverware. Australia are unbeaten at the Gabba since 1989, winning 24 and drawing seven Tests in that time. They are on a seven-Test winning streak at the ground. The best India have managed in seven Gabba Tests is a draw in 2003.
If Australia are to claim victory, their pacemen must be at the forefront. Cummins’ only 10-wicket bag came at the Gabba – against Sri Lanka in 2019 – and he shapes as the most likely bowling hero.