India vs Australia Live Score 4th test 2013 Ind v Aus Live Score
Australia have won only one series in India in the last 40 years, but never before have they left Indian shores having been beaten in every Test of a series of more than two matches. That frightening prospect will stare them in the face when the fourth and final Test gets underway at the Feroze Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Friday (March 22).
Michael Clarke’s team has alternately been called the weakest and the most inexperienced Australian team to travel to India. It has done little to suggest in the three previous games that it has worked out how to play in alien conditions, even though it hasn’t been confronted with dust bowls or diabolical turners.
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Australia have been beaten as much in the mind as on the park, their diffidence against – indeed, sometimes fear of – the turning ball manifesting itself in questionable tactics and even more ill-advised shot selection. Some have tried to dead-bat their way past the plethora of questions posed mainly by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, others have tried to be positive without possessing the technical wherewithal to complement the aggression.
Clarke, Mickey Arthur and several other members of the side have called this tour of India a learning experience. How much, or whether, they have learnt their lessons by this late stage of the tour will become apparent over the next five days.
Already under the pump, as much because they have wiped the floor as due to the disciplinary action that rendered four players unavailable for selection in Mohali, Australia now have a fresh problem to grapple with, one involving their mercurial captain. Clarke alone of Australia’s top order has played the turning ball with assurance and poise; Australia could so easily go in to the final Test trying to salvage some pride without Clarke, nursing a sore back but desperate to soldier through it.
Clarke has given himself time until the morning to decide whether he can stand the rigours of a five-day battle, and if he decides he is not fit enough, then life would have come a full circle for Shane Watson. This time last week, Watson was back in Australia after having been dumped for the Mohali Test, to be by his wife’s side during the birth of their baby. Now, he is within one night of leading Australia out in a Test match for the first time. His own personal form has been less than encouraging, but if the events of the past fortnight galvanise him into performing at his best, Arthur will believe cracking the whip has had its desired effect.
Australia haven’t had a settled combination thus far, chopping and changing after every match, and that trend will continue in Delhi as well. Watson will have to be accommodated in the XI, irrespective of whether Clarke is fit or not, and a replacement must be found for Mitchell Starc, who has flown back home for treatement to bone spurs in his leg after an excellent all-round show in Mohali. Mitchell Johnson, a seemingly like-for-like replacement, and James Pattinson, Australia’s best bowler before the Mohali axe, are the ones in contention for Starc’s spot.
India find themselves in relatively unfamiliar recent territory. They go into a Test match without any attendant pressures of a series on the line, and that should free them up to a large extent. Without being at their best, especially with the bat, India have comprehensively outplayed Australia thus far. A more rounded batting effort after successive collapses following massive stands in Hyderabad and Chennai will be something Australia will be dreading, particularly given that Sachin Tendulkar, quite looking the part, hasn’t really kicked on following his 81 in Chennai.
India will make one forced change following the finger fracture Shikhar Dhawan sustained while fielding in Mohali. Dhawan must count himself desperately unlucky to have been denied the opportunity at his home ground of building on his 187 on debut, but his misfortune could pave the way for Ajinkya Rahane, finally, to make his Test debut.
Rahane has played some six seasons of first-class cricket and averages in the 60s. He is more or less certain to play this game, even if there was no official word from the Indian camp and no pre-match press conference from the Mumbaikar – Dhawan had addressed the media on the eve of the Mohali Test. It’s increasingly looking as if Rahane will bat in the middle order with Cheteshwar Pujara set to stand in as opener alongside Murali Vijay, if the fact that Pujara fronted up to the new ball at nets on Thursday is anything to go by. Perhaps, Pujara will revel as opener, but whether his elevation from a position where he has had all his success at the Test level is fair on the young man is open to debate.
India: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.
Australia: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Moises Henriques, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Johnson, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja, Brad Haddin.