The India vs Australia 4th Test match shall commence tomorrow at Sydney, with Australia holding an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the series so far. The venue will forever be remembered for the fact that Phil Hughes got fatally injured on this ground just a month ago and it will take some doing for the players to put that out of their mind.
The Indian cricket team will also be setting itself up to play in the post–Dhoni era, under the inspiring leadership of Virat Kohli and it will be interesting to see how the new Indian captain manages his emotions.
Indian team expecting changes
It has hardly been a week since MS Dhoni hung up his boots in the longer format of the game, after the completion of the Melbourne Test, and the Indian team is already gearing up for a number of changes.
The news doing the rounds in Sydney is that Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara’s absence from the net sessions is indicative of them being dropped for the Test, with Suresh Raina looking set to make one more comeback to the middle order.
The bowling department, too, might see a shake up with Varun Aaron likely to make the cut in place of the struggling Mohammed Shami. In other new Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s recovery still seems uncertain. But on the spin front Ravichandran Ashwin’s reassuring performance in Melbourne might give India the hope and confidence that they have the spin firepower to trouble the Aussies on the usually spin friendly Sydney track.
Australia expecting to end on a high
A delayed declaration on the last day in Melbourne may have marred Australia’s hopes of an outright series whitewash, but they are likely to be more aggressive in Sydney, especially in view of the fact that the series has been won.
Mitchell Johnson’s absence should not hurt the hosts too bad, for notwithstanding the pacer’s reputation at home, he has not been in the best of form in this series. His replacement, Mitchell Starc, shall expect to make the fullest use of this opportunity to cement his place in the team.
Joe Burns gets another chance to prove his mettle on the international stage, and so does Shaun Marsh – who must have found enough confidence from the innings of 99 in the 2nd innings at Melbourne. But out of form Shane Watson and Brad Haddin must have realized after the 3rd Test that, with age not on their side, time is fast running out for them.
Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli
With two young and enthusiastic captains taking charge of their respective teams for the Test match, we can well expect to see a high voltage end to this Test series. However, both the captains have reiterated their emphasis on remaining calm and making the most of their efforts in the next 5 days.
Folks, its time for the 4th Test Sydney !