A bruised and battered India pulled off a memorable draw at the SCG. The tourists showed resilience and courage as they batted out 131 overs despite being hit with injuries. With the draw, Brisbane is set to host a cracker of a series decider. While the draw might have boosted India’s morale by folds, Ricky Ponting stresses that the hosts hold an edge over India for the final Test.
The former Australia skipper asserts that barring rookie Will Pucovski, who injured his shoulder on day five, the Aussies are expected to go unchanged. On the other hand, the tourists are set to make at least two forced changes owing to injuries. And this instability in their XI might cost them dear. Ponting goes to point out Australia’s impeccable record at the Gabba as another reason for Aussies to be favourites for the final game.
Australia last lost at the Gabba in 1988. Their undefeated run of 31 matches at the ground the longest current streak for any team at any venue in world cricket.
“Australia will have the edge going to Brisbane,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“One, (Australia’s Gabba) record and two, if Will’s OK then they won’t have to make any changes. And if Will’s not they’ll only have to make one change and they have had a pretty dominant performance in this game. India again are going to have a couple of injury concerns out of this game. So they’ve got to find another couple of guys to bring in.“
A lot of credit to India’s steely determination
None the less, Ponting is all praises for India’s valiant effort in Sydney. The World cup winning Australia captain is mighty impressed by Rishabh Pant’s counterattacking knock. And the ‘impenetrable’ partnership of 62 between Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin which lasted as many 259 balls. India scripted record as they batted for more than 100 overs first time since 1988.
“I think you’ve got to give a lot of credit to India and the steely determination they showed through the course of yesterday afternoon and today,” Ponting said.
“The resolve that they showed today, Rishabh Pant was outstanding, Vihari and Ashwin were impenetrable. Full credit to them but it’s one the Australians … that will hurt them I think.“
Although India managed to draw the third Test, it came with a big cost. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja sustained a dislocated finger in the first innings and is ruled out of the final Test. On the other hand, reports suggest that SCG hero Vihari and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah might also miss the Gabba Test. This leaves the visitors with a depleted squad for the series finale with almost half the side reeling with injuries.