For the second Test running, Australia have been outclassed by India despite being in a strong position and they now are caught in a tricky situation where they will be fighting for survival. At the start of day 4, Australia were still in with a slight chance on winning the Ranchi Test, with India still trailing by 91 runs.
They needed to break the Cheteshwar Pujara-Wriddhiman Saha stand early in the innings but they couldn't and Pujara, along with Saha went on and on to stitch a marathon 199-run stand for the seventh wicket. The reluctance of Australia captain Steve Smith to try something different didn't work and their bowlers were made to grind as the pair motored on. There was no extravagant turn for the Australian spinners but Ravindra Jadeja is making it dance and seems like bowling on an altogetner different track.
India have taken a decent lead of 152. Australia know that the game is out of their reach and it will all be about saving the game and making sure they don't fall behind in the series. They have already lost two wickets but here's where the approach becomes crucial. They shouldn't go on the defensive. The pitch has rough developed outside the left-hander's off and it will instill gremlins in the batsman's mind. A good mix of caution and aggression is the key. Their first aim will be to wipe off the trail. One step at a time. Going overly defensive against Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja can be suicidal. Ashwin has a pretty good record in the second innings of Tests.
This team looks too overdependent on Smith, he will obviously be the key but this is thee time for the rest of the batsmen to contribute heavily. This is where Shaun Marsh and Matthew Wade need to put their experience into use. Marsh has had a quite series so far and Wade too, but with Jadeja spitting venom from the rough outside left-hander's off, it's going to be extremely difficult. Technique will be the key. Matt Renshaw has shown promise and has been one of the best Australian batsmen, he has shown great maturity but hasn't gone this distance. This is his chance to prove his mettle and class on the big stage. They might be tired legs having been on the field for over 200 overs. They need to reboot, refresh and forget what happened for the past two days. A solid batting display will instill some confidence going into the last Test knowing that they are still in with a chance of winning in the series. A loss would prove to be a major confidence-sucker.
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Updated Date: Mar 19, 2017 21:24:56 IST