About the Match
Day 3 ended with India making up some more ground on Australia thanks to Pujara but Cummins made sure that Australia still has its nose ahead. Both teams have everything to play for on day 4. Here is what we think will happen.
Day 4 Preview
India is trailing by 91 runs and has its last two recognized batsmen at the crease. Ravindra Jadeja can bat but he has struggled to score runs in this series and there is no one to follow who can be expected to contribute many runs.
This means that India needs the current partnership between Pujara and Saha to continue for as long as possible and hopefully reduce the deficit down to 30 runs or so. The likelihood of such a thing happening is quite good in our opinion because the pitch has continued to play well so far and apart from Cummins, the other Australian bowlers have not really threatened.
A bet to back Pujara to get past 160 seems very safe while we think that Saha could get close to 50 runs as well.
The Indian total will end either 15-20 runs short or more than the Aussie total effectively making this a one innings shootout between the teams. Here is where things start getting interesting, though.
The pitch has developed a lot of footmarks that are perfect for Ravindra Jadeja bowling to the number of left-handers in the Australian team. Ashwin can also be expected to get much more purchase and be more threatening in the second innings of this test match.
Australia will need to bat out of their skins to be able to score beyond 200 and set India a challenging target. If India is able to eliminate most of the lead or even take a slight lead themselves, then we believe that the home team will wrest the advantage.
The other variable now in this match is of course time. India’s slow run rate has meant that a draw is becoming a more distinct possibility albeit a small one at this point in time. If the pitch continues to play as it has and does not offer much more assistance to the bowlers, then the Aussies could bat for a long enough time to make forcing a victory difficult.
Australia also needs to remember that a couple of quick wickets on day 4 could throw the game open and give them a huge advantage. Armed with a lead of around 70-75 runs, Australia could set India a challenging target and a torrid fourth day in which to try and force a victory.
All the three results are on the table right now, and Pujara holds the key in our opinion. His innings tomorrow could very well dictate which way the match turns. Back Australia to win if he is out early tomorrow, otherwise stick with an Indian victory.
Our own hunch suggests that Pujara will be able to help wipe out the lead and then the Indian bowlers will utilize the progressively wearing conditions to set up a manageable fourth innings lead.
Back India To Win.