Australia vs India, 4th Test, Preview: Virat Kohli and Co. aim for a rare glory away from home
Will Australia be able to come back like they did in Perth?
Published - Jan 2, 2019 1:21 pm | Updated - Jan 2, 2019 2:04 pm
History awaits Team India in Sydney as they need a win or draw in the fourth and final Test match of the series. Leading by 2-1, it will be interesting to see how they approach this game even as Australia will be keen on levelling the series. There are some serious questions to answer for them and with the skipper Tim Paine conceding that they are missing Steve Smith and David Warner, the batting is certainly an issue.
The surface at the SCG generally offers a significant amount of turn as the match progresses and there is a possibility that both the teams go in with two spinners. The hosts have added Marnus Labuschagne to the squad as he offers an extra leg-spin option and might go on to play replacing Mitchell Marsh. There is also a chance of Aaron Finch moving down the order and even Peter Handscomb might come in as Paine hinted during the pre-match presser.
Injury woes continue to haunt the visitors as Ravi Ashwin, their lead spinner, has failed the fitness test and will miss the last game of the series as well. Surprisingly, Ishant Sharma has also been left out of the 13-man squad announced for this game and with Rohit Sharma missing out, they will have to take a call on whether to go in with a specialist spinner or pure batsman in KL Rahul.
Australia might open with Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris in this game whilethe reports suggest that Marnus Labuchagne will bat at three. Aaron Finch is most likely to move down the order or will be dropped along with Mitchell Marsh with Peter Hanscomb coming back into the line-up. The rest of the team will remain the same unless major injury issues come at the eleventh hour.
The likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins have to knock the opposition over early while Nathan Lyon is always a threat when playing at the SCG.
Probable XI: Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuchagne, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb/Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
India have announced the 13-man squad and in all probability, KL Rahul looks set to return at the top of the order and Hanuma Vihari will slot back in at six. There is also a chance that they might pull the rabbit out of the hat and include Kuldeep Yadav to go in with three spinners effectively as Vihari can also bowl. Umesh Yadav is also an option but given his tendency to leak runs which hurt the team in Perth, the chinaman might be preferred.
Ishant Sharma is set to miss this game with an injury to his left rib-cage and is being assessed at the moment. Jasprit Bumrah has to step up in any case while Mohammed Shami also didn’t train on the eve of the game which has raised a few more doubts. Ravindra Jadeja will continue to be the lead spinner after a fine show in Melbourne.
Probable XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav/Umesh Yadav.
Focus will be on
Usman Khawaja (Australia)
Khawaja is likely to open the innings for Australia and it will be interesting to see how he fares. The left-hander did wonders in the UAE at the same position but will have to cope up with a new partner and not Finch. However, he will have to face some hostile new ball bowling. Ricky Ponting‘s prediction of Khawaja scoring more than Kohli has gone horribly wrong and the cricketer will be keen on proving his mettle.
KL Rahul (India)
Destiny keeps presenting KL Rahul with opportunities and he keeps losing it. First, an injury to Prithvi Shaw and now Rohit Sharma travelling back home for personal reasons means the ‘talented’ cricketer has another shot at glory. Rahul’s Test career is at stake in the same country where he made his debut and he certainly doesn’t want to let this chance go begging.
Head to Head
Overall – 97 | Australia won – 42 | India won – 26 | Tie – 1 | Draw – 26
Matches – 47 | Australia won – 29 | India won – 7 | Draw – 11
1978 – India last won a Test match in Sydney in 1978. Since then they’ve played eight matches at the venue and lost four.
11 – Virat Kohli is only 11 runs away from completing 19000 International runs.
TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match timings – 5:00 AM IST; 10:30 AM Local Time