Cricket Australia vs India, fourth Test at the Gabba, live scores: Start time, stream access, Brisbane weather, teams
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And so the Border-Gavaskar series came down to this.
One Test, winner takes all.
On paper, the four-Test series never should have been 1-1 heading to the Gabba for the finale, starting Friday (11am AEDT first ball).
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India has been ravaged by injury in a way few touring teams have ever experienced, and yet, it claimed an unlikely win at the MCG over Australia before sealing an even unlikelier draw — one of its finest Test performances away from home — on Monday at the SCG.
Those results have given India a fighting chance to retain the trophy it won on these shores for the first time ever in 2018-19.
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Despite the group being lauded by veteran cricket journalist Robert Craddock as “the most mentally tough team” that’s ever toured Australia, India still has a mountain to climb from Friday.
When it takes to the Gabba, it will do so without Virat Kohli (paternity), Mohammed Shami (broken arm), Umesh Yadav (calf), Ravindra Jadeja (hamstring), Jasprit Bumrah (abdominal), KL Rahul (wrist) and Ishant Sharma (side). Furthermore, the Press Trust of India reports that fourth Test hero, Hanuma Vihari, tore his hamstring during his match-saving knock in Sydney and will also miss out.
Once all those players are removed, India’s XI practically picks itself.
Australia is in far better health when compared to India, but has a problem of its own in what has been a taxing series.
The hosts will be forced to use its third opening combination in as many Tests with Will Pucovski ruled out due to a shoulder injury sustained on Monday. His opening partner, David Warner, is believed to be still recovering from a groin strain, but is expected to be picked once again despite not being fully fit.
Robert ‘Crash’ Craddock joins Tom Morris to wrap up an action-packed SCG Test on the latest FOX Cricket podcast
The rest of its XI from Sydney is fit, although fatigue is a concern for its bowlers who sent down 131 fourth innings overs before just a three-day rest.
As such, it’s a fight to be last man standing at the Gabba with the series on the line.
Luckily for Australia, the fourth Test takes place at the ground it holds its greatest advantage, historically speaking. They don’t call it the Gabbatoir for no reason.
Not since 1988 has Australia lost a Test at the Brisbane venue where it has a record of 40-8-13, and one tie in 1960 against the West Indies.
India has played a Test at the Gabba six times for zero wins, five losses and one draw.
That’s not the only significant trend India will have to reverse if it wants to leave Australia with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy still in its possession.
Australia has not lost a Test series on home soil after leading since 1992-93 when it lost 1-2 to the West Indies. The nation also hasn’t gone winless in three-consecutive Tests on home soil since 2016.
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B RISBANE WEATHER (via Bureau of Meteorology, as of Thursday afternoon)
The weather forecast for Brisbane during the Test is a concerning one with at least a 30 per cent chance of rain forecast for four days of play.
Day One: Sunny, 10 per cent chance of rain
Day Two: Shower or two and possible storm. 50 per cent chance of 0-4mm of rain
Day Three: Partly cloudy, 30 per cent chance of a light shower
Day Four: Shower or two, 50 per cent chance of 0-8mm of rain
Day Five: Shower or two, 60 per cent chance of 1-6mm of rain
Australia (possible XI): Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (wk, c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
India (possible XI): Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar/T Natarajan, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur