Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi
The 4th test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2013 between India and Australia at Delhi could be historic.
Reason to smile again
For the first time in their illustrious test history, Australia could be whitewashed (brownwashed) in a test series. This is the second time since 2010 that they have lost 3 tests in a single series since the 2011 Ashes series in Australia (1-3 to England). If India stick to the basics and play their cards right, they could achieve the rare distinction of being the only test team in cricket history to whitewash Australia. And this could not have come at a better time for an ailing Indian team, in need of some serious redemption after the 1-2 home loss to England. On the contrary, Australia was the team that came in on a high- whitewashing Lanka Down Under 3-0 after narrowly losing 0-1 to the no.1 Test team in the world South Africa. In fact, Australia (with Ponting and Hussey) were just a test away from taking top spot once again before the South Africans pulled the rug from under their feet in the final test.
And as we know, the Kotla in Delhi will pose more than a few questions to the spin-weary Australians- a turning pitch that keeps low, especially after the first 2 days of a match. It hasn’t helped matters that Clarke has won 3 tosses in a row, and then gone on to lose 3 tests in a row.
The Joke is on me, mate
-Shikhar Dhawan, the debut hero from Mohali, will miss his home game with a fractured wrist. Surprisingly (or not), Suresh Raina replaces him in the squad. This could mean that Rahane will finally make his long awaited test debut as an opener (replacement for a replacement), and Raina could be used as a sub-fielder in this game, unless one of the middle order guys decide to take a break. (hint)
-Michael Clarke, in all probability, will not play in the final test because of his chronic back problem. This could ironically mean that Watson’s return will be not only as batsman but captain of the side. If Clarke is declared fit though, Watson may not find a place in the side- especially after Hughes proved that he could bat a bit at Mohali.
–Pattinson will return and will replace one of the spinners, though the management should give it a think because Delhi is notorious for slow low turners.
Final Fling with the Aussies
–Sachin Tendulkar will play his 198th test match, and probably his LAST test against his favorite opponents Australia.
-Steve Smith could be given another opportunity, purely as a middle-order resourceful batsman and a great fielder. His bowling is far from ideal.
-Maxwell could come in instead of Smith, as the more useful spinner in helpful conditions.
Anything less than a win could disappoint blood-hungry vengeful Indian fans after the 4-0 blankout Down Under last year. Dhoni and co. were one bad over away from drawing the third test- thanks to some bizarre batting by their experienced players, but will look to build on a famous series-closing victory that sees them retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and return to no. 3 in test rankings.