The 3rd Test in what has been a very hard fought series between India and Australia starts in Ranchi on Thursday, and amid all the flak flying around, and the controversy over referrals, etc, it looks set to another enthralling spectacle.
The 2nd Test at Bengaluru a couple of weeks back was a topsy-turvy affair, with Australia managing to lose a low scoring game by 75 runs, despite having a 1st innings lead of 87 runs.
To further compound Aussie misery, they have lost both the Mitchells to injury, Marsh and Starc. The lose of Mitchell Marsh (shoulder) isn’t probably the biggest problem for Australia, as they have spinning all-rounder options to come into the side at No.6, and that ensures they can keep the balance of the team as it was.
The loss of Mitchell Starc with a stress fracture of the foot is a bigger blow though. Starc may not have pulled up many trees on this tour, but he is the spearhead of the Aussie attack. Not only will his loss to the attack be felt here, there is also the worry of longer term problems for the left arm quick.
Starc has already spent a lot of time out injured with foot and ankle problems over the last 2 to 3 years. So with the Champions Trophy and Ashes coming up over the next 10 months, the Aussie camp will be praying that it’s nothing more than a routine stress fracture, brought on by bowling on a dry hard pitch, rather than something more deep routed, that is maybe related to previous issues.
Most of the top Sports Betting Sites have India at 8/13 to win the 3rd Test, and take a 2-1 series lead. The draw is at around 9/2 to 5/1, with an Australia victory at around 3/1, with Betvictor sticking their necks out a bit, and offering 7/2.
A win here at Ranchi for the Aussies would see them retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, as that would mean the worst the Aussies could do is draw the series, and as the current holders of the trophy, Steven Smith’s team would retain if the series is drawn.
There has been plenty of bickering between these two sides, and it will be interesting to see what kind of spirit the 3rd Test is played in. The two respective boards have held clear the air talks, and the match referee has got involved pre match, to try and ensure the match is played in the right spirit.
To see the Aussies moaning about sledging is slightly ironic, and as Ian Chappell himself said, when you dish it out, you have to be prepared to take it when it comes back your way, and he knows a thing or two about sledging.
“I also don’t think the Australians are in any position to start throwing stones. They’re no choirboys themselves. It’s ridiculous to allow that much chatter to occur on the field.”