MELBOURNE: Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell believes that fragile batting line-ups of both India and Australia have made the ongoing four-match Test series between these two sides “enthralling”.
The four-match series between India and Australia is currently level at 1-1 and both teams are currently locking horns in the ongoing fourth Test at the Gabba, Brisbane.
Chappell also believes that if India and Australia manage to reach the finals of the World Test Championship, then it would be a great contest for the ICC title. The former Australian skipper added that Indian batsmen are no longer the best players of spin.
“The fragility of both teams’ batting has contributed greatly to the enthralling nature of the series. A collapse seems never far from happening, and consequently, neither team has been able to establish absolute authority. The resilience and fight shown by India has been matched by the class of the Australian attack and their never-say-die attitude,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
“If these two teams reach the final of the World Test Championship and they are both at full-strength, it should be one of the great winner-take-all battles. First and foremost it’s no longer correct to say Indian batsmen are the best players of spin bowling. They may not be worse than some others but they’re definitely not better than the rest overall,” he added.
Elaborating further on his point, Chappell said: “There have been times in this series when they certainly were not smart players of spin bowling. In the first innings at the SCG, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were classic examples. They both plodded forward in defence to ball after ball from Nathan Lyon, which is not only lazy footwork but is also asking for trouble. Neither was dismissed by Lyon but it was more good fortune than sound footwork.”
Chappell also said that India needs a quality all-rounder like Hardik Pandya in the longest format. The former Australian skipper also stressed the need for India to improve their catching.
“To round out India’s best side – one that will provide a real challenge if they reach the World Test Championship final – they need Hardik Pandya at full fitness. His all-round presence gives India more selection options in order to take advantage of their blossoming and versatile attack,” said Chappell.
“The other area of need for India is improved catching. There’s no point in having a strong attack if they’re constantly thwarted by spilled chances. That leads to Rishabh Pant’s presence as a keeper. He’s fine standing back but he hurts the team standing up to the spinners. If Pant regularly bats as he did in that spirited second-innings knock in Sydney, then he justifies wearing the gloves. However, if the standard fare is only quick-fire thirties, then there’s an argument for Wriddhiman Saha retaining the gloves,” he added.
Australia had won the first Test against India at Adelaide, but the visitors bounced back to win the next Test at Melbourne. The third Test at Sydney ended in a draw and now both teams are locking horns in the series decider at Brisbane.