About the Match
The fourth test between India and Australia is set to get underway on the 25th
of March in Dharamshala and few would have predicted that it would be the series decider. Australia has shown that it is more than capable of beating this Indian team at home and the prospect of a historic series victory should motivate them while India will settle for nothing less than a win.
Which team will come out on top?
4th Test Preview
There is no doubt that India will be feeling the pressure coming into this fourth test match. Every pre-series prediction about them rolling the Aussies over has come to naught and they have in fact had to play out of their skins to be level at 1-1.
There is also a big question mark on the availability of their skipper, Virat Kohli, for this test match and that is sure to keep the butterflies fluttering in their stomachs. Kohli has yet to make any significant contribution with the bat but as one of the leading batsmen of the world, his presence in the team is invaluable.
We believe that a cover for Kohli has been brought up only as a last resort and that he is more than likely to play.
None the less, the responsibility on the other batsmen like Rahul, Vijay and Rahane increases greatly. Pujara has been in fantastic form and is the kind of player to really make it count when he is seeing the ball well.
We would back Pujara as the top scorer in this match once again.
The ball has usually traveled nicely on this pitch and even though the conditions can be overcast for the first session of play, we think this will be a good pitch for the batsmen, at least for the first couple of days.
There have been rumors about changes to this Indian team ahead of the last test and the possible inclusion of an extra bowler. We don’t think there is any realistic possibility of that happening, especially as Virat himself is not in good form. Karun Nair will get one more opportunity to show that his triple hundred was not just a flash in the pan.
The only change that could be made is the inclusion of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar ahead of Ishant Sharma. Dharamshala can aid swing bowlers and this is where Kumar is at his best.
Ashwin has had two lean innings in a row now and seems to be trying a little too hard to get back in the wickets. He will be a threat to the Aussies but we think it is Jadeja who will be the highest wicket taker of the match for India once again.
Josh Hazelwood said that the Aussies would be happy walking away with a draw and still in possession of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. He is absolutely right in that no other team has come to India in the recent past and run the home team so close.
The Aussies just need to draw this match but we believe if they go into this test match thinking of a draw, then they are likely to end up on the losing side.
The real steel for this Australian side has come from the fact that they are ready to embrace any conditions thrown at them and adapt accordingly. Steve Smith has proven beyond doubt that he is the best batsmen in the world and he is our choice for top scorer once again, but there is more to this Australian side than just him.
Matt Renshaw has been an absolute revelation while Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb showed they are capable of fighting it out there as well. Mathew Wade got some runs under his belt and Glenn Maxwell surprised everyone by turning over a new leaf!
David Warner is the only one that has been struggling on this tour but we have a feeling he is about to get a good score in this match. An outside bet backing him to get fifty or more could pay rich dividends.
We think that Australia will also go into this match without making any changes. They would be wise to ignore talk of the ball seaming around because there is very little chance of that happening. The Aussies were involved in a t20 match against New Zealand at this very venue when the ball spun from the first delivery.
With India needing a win, a similar pitch could be on offer.
Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon have struggled to pick wickets as this tour has gone on and that could continue in this match as well. Australia’s pacers though in Hazelwood and Cummins, will pose a significant threat no matter what the conditions.
There is a chance that both of them could find some swing early in the day and get reverse swing as the ball gets older. With his genuine pace, steep bounce and the ability to bowl cutters, Pat Cummins is our pick to be the highest wicket taker for Australia in this test match.
Pitch and Conditions
There has been a lot of talk about bounce, carry, seam and so on and while that may still be true, there is no way that this pitch is not going to spin sharply. In fact, previous experiences have shown us that an effort o combine bounce with spin has resulted in some raging turners being prepared. Overcast conditions in the mountains could lend an interesting twist to the proceedings as well.
We think that these are two flawed, yet evenly matched teams that are both capable of winning. Ultimately, though, home conditions and experience could count in favor of India winning the series.
Back India To Win.
Winner: India, 2.05 @ Bet on India now