India vs Australia 4th Test: Preview and Prediction
The stage is set for the final encounter of the 2023 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy where the visitors will be turning up to eye on a comeback of ages. Men in Blue will be also looking forward to staging a quick bounce-back to claim the trophy and save their invincible status at home as well. The world’s biggest cricket arena, Narendra Modi Stadium of Ahmedabad will be the host of the fourth Test between India and Australia commencing from Thursday onwards.
This forthcoming encounter is expected to break the record for the most attendance for a day in a Test match and that too in the presence of Indian PM Narendra Modi and the visiting Australian PM Anthony Albanese.
The Ahmedabad Arena may accommodate a jam-packed crowd of 1,00,000 on the first day breaking the previous record of MCG for 91,112 attendance during the 2013-14 Ashes. Captain Rohit Sharma and his boys have a final chance to directly book their ticket for the WTC Final or will have to depend on the results of Sri Lanka vs New Zealand if they fail to emerge victorious.
The Australian team management has made it official that the 33-year-old Steve Smith will be leading the charge for the Final Test in the extended absence of Pat Cummins. Smith has retained his captaincy for one last time as the Aussie first-choice skipper has decided to stay back with his mother Martha who is in palliative care for breast cancer. The Westmead-born speedster is also yet to clear his availability for the ODI series lining up with the same opponent.
Team India is likely to make a few changes to the Playing Eleven after their 9-wicket defeat at the hands of Kangaroos to seek a fresh approach ahead. The stalwart Indian pacer Mohammad Shami can be the first change into the lineup after their pace unit could not do many wonders in his absence. Mohammed Siraj has featured in all three games but could bowl only six overs in the previous appearance and is speculated to be rested ahead of the 50-over series.
What have they done so far?
The hosts kick-started the prestigious BGT saga with a bang in the opening encounter and crushed down the spirited Aussies who were having high hopes to take the initial edge. India registered a thumping victory with the final margin of an innings and 132 to retain their supremacy at the spin fortress of Nagpur.
They faced minimal difficulties in the following fixture held at Arun Jaitley Stadium of Delhi to take an affirmative lead of 2-0 while Ravindra Jadeja was conferred with the Player of the Match honor for the consecutive times.
Just when the series was speculated to be a one-sided saga, the Aussies turned the tables around to bring back the excitement in the four-game contest. The visitors held a commanding position in the Indore Test right from the first delivery and stunned the home side despite skipper Smith losing the coin toss. Australia learned from their earlier failure and finally overcame the repetitive mistake of under-utilizing the spin-bowling attack in favorable conditions.
Head to Head record
Baggy Greens have recently ended India’s winning streak of four straight games at home and now are shifting focus onto the ultimate aim of daunting their counterparts from claiming the trophy at home for the first time since the heroics of 2005.
Team India has added two more memorable triumphs to their head-to-head record against the arch-rivals while the visitors have also broken their long-standing deadlock. The current head-to-head record of this high-profile Indo-Australian rivalry stands 44-32 in the favor of Oz while the draw count of 28 encounters remains as it is.
The Men in Blue are prospering a dominant record in Ahmedabad winning Six of the 14 fixtures played here while losing only two games to date. However, the exotic venue of Narendra Modi Stadium has never got the opportunity to host the battle of red-ball format between these two combatants. Hence, this is going to be the very first encounter between the world’s two strongest sides of the longest cricketing format at the ‘Manchester of India’.
Axar Patel: This is going to be a special game for the 29-year-old bowling all-rounder who also hails from the financial capital of Gujarat state.
The series has been forgettable for the local lad till now after being able to pick only a solitary wicket from three games hence, it is a golden opportunity for him to take his redemption in front of the home crowd. He has picked a whopping total of 20 wickets from two matches at this venue and also managed to achieve five-fer in three out of four innings.
Nathan Lyon: The 35-year-old veteran spin wizard was the chief architect of Australia’s memorable Indore triumph bagging 11 wickets across both innings. When the Indian batting unit took the battlefield for their second innings, the NSW talisman hunted down eight opposition batters to set an achievable final target of 76.
Lyon is now preparing to strike a final blow to his favorite opposition while the Men in Blue will be also turning up with their homework to cut down his wings.
Predicted Playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma ©, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikar Bharat (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Australia: Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith ©, Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann
Australia has already proved to have the potential of becoming the best touring Test side on Indian soil in recent times. Their recent triumph in the neighboring city of Indore has stunned the cricketing world and is also indicating the bigger aims of the Aussies to draw the four-match saga.
However, the winning equation still stands in the favor of the home team with the slightest margin after having a spin roster which is fond of the Ahmedabad pitch.