High-stakes for Rohit Sharma’s team with WTC final berth on the line
IND Vs AUS Fourth Test: Australia’s Test tour of India begins on Thursday, March 9 as the fourth Test comes to an end. Even though the visitors are trailing 2-1 in the four-Test series, all the pressure is on the hosts. Ahead of the game, a final berth in the ICC’s World Test Championship (WTC) is on the line, pitches in India are under question, batsmen under-performing at home are being probed and on top of that the premierships of India and Australia Will be present.
India’s top batsmen will be hoping to clear their heads and secure a second consecutive WTC final berth against Australia in the decisive fourth Test starting on Thursday. A 3-1 series win will guarantee India’s place in the summit WTC clash in June depending on the result of Sri Lanka’s away series in New Zealand.
The pitch at Motera is welcome relief for the batsmen with its firmness and even bounce after the less groomed tracks in the previous matches resulted in short games.
The impressive Narendra Modi Stadium will set the right atmosphere for the high-stakes Test match, which is expected to be attended by 100,000 people on the opening day, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.
To keep the interest going, India’s top players including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara will have to take the responsibility of winning mind games and pitch battles. The walk from the center of the track to the dressing rooms is approximately 100 meters and includes over 70 steps, the only way back for under-performing batsmen.
India’s second-highest scorer in the series, Axar Patel, with 185 runs, highlights the difficulty the batsmen have faced so far, and head coach Rahul Dravid’s assessment backs this up.
Kohli and Pujara know that big innings against good opposition has eluded them for a long time.
India will likely make one change, with Mohammed Shami coming in, along with the experienced Umesh Yadav, while Mohammed Siraj has been rested, and is expected to play a key role in India’s ODI campaign starting March 17 in Mumbai.
Will an extra batsman act as a cushion for India’s top-order is a question raised after their poor batting performance, but if the pitch is better for the willow-wielders, it will take five bowlers to take 20 wickets. will be needed.
For Australia, the key question is whether they will drop an off-spinner in Todd Murphy and go for an additional pacer like Scott Boland or Lance Morris. Having secured a WTC final berth, Steve Smith, in his stopgap role, will certainly hope to spoil India’s unbeaten home record, which hasn’t happened since England in 2012.