Having thrashed Australia in the Boxing Day Test, India would be looking to register their first series win Down Under by trying to dominate Australia in the fourth and final Test Match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
The Final match of the Test Series is to be played in the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground, and to counter their first home series defeat, Australia, have roped in 24-year old bowling all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne, who can bowl leg breaks and is a healthy lower-middle order batsman.
India having dominated the entirety of the Boxing Day Test would like to go unchanged in the final game of the series, however, since Rohit Sharma has left the Indian camp after his daughter’s birth, India would be forced to make a change to their playing eleven. Since the SCG pitch is likely to be a spinner’s paradise, India could draft in Kuldeep Yadav ahead of Hardik Pandya after Ravichandran Ashwin was ruled out of the final test due to groin stress. Ishant Sharma, the bowling spearhead of the first three test has also been ruled out due to a feeling of discomfort in his left rib cage. Umesh Yadav is more certain to replace the Delhi pacer.
The only problem that India possesses still is their inability to wrap up the tail-enders for cheap. This has time and again costed the Indians, and going into the final match of the series India would be hoping to rectify this issue.
The issue that the Australians would have to clearly look upon is the contribution of runs from their batsmen. Australia have time and again failed in this department and that has led to their downfall in this series. They would have to need their openers to negate the early threats of the new ball by playing cautiously and watchfully and build a solid opening partnership, and the rest of the batsmen should from thereon carry the innings forward and post a big total.
With India just needing a draw to win their first series in Australia and the hosts trying to challenge the visitors for the same, the Fourth Test is thus expected to be an exciting affair wherein the contest would be between the Indian batsmen and the Australian bowling attack. Whosoever is the winner of this contest between bat and ball, their team is more likely to dominate this test.
Formidable Bowling Attack – The only department in which the Baggy Greens have excelled this series is in bowling. The bowling line-up consisting of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon have time and again troubled the famed Indian batsmen during the course of the series and the same is expected of them in the final test too.
Underperforming Openers – Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris have both underperformed this series. Out of the six innings they have played in this series, apart from the Perth Test, they both have failed significantly and Australia would be hoping that these two negate the new ball threat and lay a solid foundation for the rest of the batsmen to dominate in the Sydney Test.
Unsettled Batting line-up – The Kangaroos have yet not managed to fill the gaps left by the bans on Smith and Warner. Though the present batsmen have shown promises, none have gone on and made some significant contribution to the team’s total. Also, none have played a long partnership together, and this has been one of the major reason why Australia are trailing the series 2–1. If Australia are to defend their record of not losing to India Down Under, then this problem should be gotten rid of.
Menacing Pace attack – With sheer pace and swing, the Indian fast bowlers have wreaked havoc in Australia. The Indian speedsters have managed to bag 47 out of the 60 wickets in this series, and the Indian camp would be hopeful that the same is achieved by the speedsters in Sydney as well to hand over India their first series win in Australia.
Stable Middle-Order – The form of Indian middle-order was a big worry since their below-par performances on away tour. But, their recent showing in Down Under has been the main difference in this series between the two sides, wherein India have managed to post respectable totals and dominate Australia for the rest of the game.
Inability to dismantle the lower-order cheaply: Time and again India have suffered for their inability to pick-up the tail-enders’ wicket cheaply. This had, in turn, hampered their chance of winning the series in South Africa and England, and the same was one of the primary reason why India lost the Second Test played at Perth. In Melbourne, India were able to get rid of the tail-enders cheaply in the first innings and this resulted in them gaining a huge advantage which ultimately decided the fate of the game, and if the same is done by India in Sydney, then surely they can create history.
This Fourth and Final Test of the series is expected to be a thrilling contest wherein this Indian team would be hoping to go down the records books as the first Indian team to defeat Australia in Australia. Australia meanwhile would try to avoid this record and look to win against India and level the series 2–2. We predict that since much is being said about the Sydney pitch helping the spinners, India would have a slight advantage over Australia in this match given that the Indian batsmen play spin better than the rest of the world and with the quality of Indian spinners against their Australian counterpart.