4th Test: Australia ready for ‘game of chess’ as India look to book a spot in WTC final | Cricket News


After Australia‘s victory in the third Test at Indore, Steve Smith compared captaincy in India to a “game of chess”, and the stand-in skipper is ready to play that game one more time in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
India lead the series 2-1 and have all to play for with a place in the World Test Championship final in the offing if the hosts go on to beat Australia, who have already booked a place in the summit clash for the World Test title. And the visitors would also want to end the series all-square, even if they can’t reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Australia captain Pat Cummins has remained at home because of a family illness, leaving his deputy Smith with another chance to pit his wits against India in the subcontinent, something he clearly relishes.

“It’s a game of chess, every ball means something,” said Smith after the Indore victory, which followed India’s wins in Nagpur and Delhi.
“It’s good to just move people and try to make the batter do something different and just play games with them,” Smith said after the Indore triumph.
“It’s probably my favourite place in the world to captain.”
India and Australia’s prime ministers are scheduled to attend on Thursday where another sharply turning wicket is expected at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world’s largest cricket ground with a capacity of 132,000.

Joe Root’s England were thrashed there twice two years ago, including inside two days in a day-night game, the shortest completed Test since 1935.
Despite the local Gujarat Cricket Association’s assurances of a “normal pitch”, both sides are again expected to pick three spinners, though India may opt for the wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav instead of Axar Patel, who has taken only one wicket in the series.
India may also strengthen their batting by dropping a seam bowler and bringing in the explosive Suryakumar Yadav.
Australia’s spinners Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann took full advantage of an Indore pitch officially rated as “poor” by the match referee to give Australia only their second Test victory on Indian soil since 2004.

Kuhnemann took five wickets and Lyon three as India were rolled for 109 in their first innings after opting to bat.
Usman Khawaja’s 60 in a 96-run stand with Marnus Lasuschagne helped Australia to an 88-run lead, despite a late collapse from 186-4 to 197 all out.
Lyon ripped through with 8-64 as India made 163 in their second innings, before Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne chased down the 76-run target with ease.
India captain Rohit Sharma said he was fed up with the constant focus on the playing surfaces and wanted to focus instead on some exceptional bowling performances.


(AI picture)
“This pitch talk is getting too much,” he said after the Indore Test. “Every time we play in India it’s always about the pitch.
“Out of the 10 wickets maybe one or two where the pitch did help the bowler, but other than that it was the skill of the bowler that foxed the batsman”.
(With agency inputs)


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