What’s the story?
Australian coach Darren Lehmann has identified Ravindra Jadeja as the biggest threat for the visitors on the fifth day on a turning and wearing track in Ranchi.
“Going to have to come up with a plan to combat Jadeja but we’ve worked on that and you’ll probably see it tomorrow I would think,” Lehmann said after the fourth day’s proceedings.
”They’ve got to believe in what they are doing as a group and a couple of good balls like tonight that can happen in a game of cricket. For us it’s a great challenge. The challenge for our group is to put on a couple of partnerships and really get ahead of the game. It was a great ball that got Warner in the end. If they bowl 10 of those so be it. But we’ve got to cope with it as best as we can and come up with a plan and we’ve done a lot of practice in those conditions, so I’m really confident they can do the job and see how they go. It’ll be a great challenge for them,” Lehmann further added.
The concerns expressed by the coach is quite genuine considering the fact that there is a huge rough patch outside the off stump of a left-handed batsman and this is where Jadeja can prove to be lethal for the visitors.
He has already prized out the wicket of David Warner and would now be a considerable threat to other southpaws in the batting line-up which includes Matt Renshaw, Shaun Marsh and Matthew Wade. Also, owing to the natural variation of the surface he would be a handful even for the right-handers.
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India edged ahead of Australia on Day 4 as Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha put together a marathon partnership of 199 runs to put the hosts firmly in the driver’s seat.
Australia ended the day on 23 for the loss of 2 wickets and are still trail India by 129 runs. The pitch which has played very well on all the four days are now showing signs of deterioration and this could assist the Indian spinners, especially Ravindra Jadeja who had a brilliant all-round day on Sunday. He scored a quickfire 54 before coming back to nip out 2 Australian wickets in David Warner and night watchman Nathan Lyon.
However, the day belonged to Cheteshwar Pujara who batted for almost 10 hours to script an epic double century. He was assisted by Wriddhiman Saha who himself brought up his century.
The job of the visitors are cut out as they not only have to survive on the fifth day but will also have to score runs in order to put some pressure on the hosts. The onus lies once again with Steve Smith as Australia have already lost David Warner.
Lehmann, however, has made it clear that the main aim of the team would be to draw the match. India have come back from behind and are now favourites to emerge victorious.
The pitch in Ranchi is a typical Test match pitch as it has aided run making for the best part of 4 days and has now shown signs of deterioration as it is assisting the spinners.
However, batting is still not impossible and the Australian batsmen will have to dig deep and concentrate for long periods of time to keep the Indian bowlers at bay.