WICKET! Rohit c Paine c Cummins 7, India 18-1
at 6.51pm EST
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Hello all, for the last time from the Border-Gavaskar trophy series of 2020-21. Three Test matches and four fifths of the fourth, and it all comes down to today. India need 324 runs to win the Test and win the series 2-1. Australia need to bowl them out to win the Test and win the series 2-1. A draw would see the series drawn and the trophy retained by India.
Perhaps more significantly, a draw would see Australia remain in a qualifying position for the World Test Championship final, where a loss would see them drop out. A draw would (I think) see India temporarily drop from second to third and out of contention, but with the chance to make up that gap again in their upcoming Tests against England. If Australia does tour South Africa as speculated, those Tests could also help Australia regain their place should they lose it today, but on the other hand losses in South Africa would also damage Australia’s win ratio and could see them miss out even if they win today. Qualification is done by a percentage of wins or draws from matches played, not overall points, and New Zealand have finished all of their Tests for the period with a high qualification average. Should either Australia or India slip, the Kiwis are in.
So here we are. Bowling wise, Mitchell Starc might have a hamstring twinge and could be hampered. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have done a power of work. Nathan Lyon has bowled well but not taken many wickets in this series. Cameron Green is yet to take one in his career. Those bowlers will have to dig deep one more time to make use of an increasingly spicy Gabba pitch.
As for India, their openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill are both stroke-players, and one suspects that they will go about things as normal, looking to score at a decent clip. If they put on enough runs then the rest of the lineup may go after this target. If they fall cheaply then we’ll likely see Pujara and company try to bat long as they did in Sydney.
And the weather? The forecast is good and the skies are cloudy in patches but overall dry. Fingers crossed. Shall we, once more with feeling?