India vs Australia: Mitchell Starc's absence caused off-spinners' pale show, says Sourav Ganguly
'Off-spinners did not get wickets here. This is because Mitchell Starc was not there, so the rough outside off-stump was not created,' Ganguly said.
Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels injured left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc's absence in the third cricket Test against Australia played a big role in the pale show of off-spinners from both the sides in the drawn game.
Ganguly was of the view that India's Ravichandran Ashwin and his Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon's didn't get much purchase from the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium track because of the lack of rough outside the off-stump, which is often created by the left-arm bowlers.
"Off-spinners did not get wickets here. This is because Mitchell Starc was not there, so the rough outside off-stump was not created," Ganguly told reporters after the third and penultimate Test between India and Australia ended in a draw.
Australia's prime pacer Starc was ruled out of the series after the second Test in Bengaluru due to a stress fracture in his right foot. In his two innings, Ashwin returned with figures of 2/185 bowling a combined 64 overs, while Australia' Lyon got just the wicket of a tired Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings after the latter played a marathon knock of 202 off 525 deliveries.
Ganguly also praised the Australian middle-order duo of Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for stitching a gritty match-saving fifth wicket partnership of 124 runs in the visitor's second innings.
"They (Marsh and Handscomb) played really well," Ganguly said.
Lee believes the Men in Blue, who won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, are strong contenders to win the tournament that starts on Sunday. India will open their campaign on 24 October against Pakistan.
India will clash against Pakistan in their main event lung-opener on Sunday. The tournament will be Virat Kohli's last as skipper in the format besides being the swan-song for head coach Ravi Shastri.
Ganguly said Kohli was under no pressure to step down as India's T20I captain.