Navdeep Saini walking off the field with a groin injury was not good news for India in the fourth Test against Australia in Brisbane. But it did give a glimpse into India’s sixth bowling option for the game – Rohit Sharma!
The Indian vice-captain had to bowl only one delivery – a gentle medium pace ball that Marnus Labuschagne cut for a single. It was enough to excite his fans on Twitter, including Dinesh Karthik.
Trouble Mounts for India as Navdeep Saini Taken for Scans After Groin Injury
Karthik cheekily tweeted that Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have to watch out as India have now found a ‘new fast bowler’.
Navdeep Saini is off the field due to injury.
— CricketNext (@cricketnext) January 15, 2021
— DK (@DineshKarthik) January 15, 2021
Meanwhile, Marnus Labuschagne rode his luck to reach a century even as India’s depleted attack fought with regular breakthroughs.
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The Australia number three was reprieved on 37 on that ball, and again on 48 when he nicked to Cheteshwar Pujara, who put down a tough, low chance at first slip.
India had earlier celebrated the key wicket of Steve Smith for 36 when the master batsman was caught at short midwicket off debutant Washington Sundar’s first ball of his first spell after lunch.
Despite four forced changes to their 11 from Sydney, India had stunned Australia with two early wickets in a dream start before Smith and Labuschagne steadied the ship for the home side in the morning.
With pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ruled out, India blooded two debutants in fast bowler T. Natarajan and spin-bowling all-rounder Sundar.
Rahane’s rookie, four-prong pace battery enjoyed a fine opening hour.
Two-test paceman Mohammed Siraj had David Warner caught for one with the sixth ball of the morning, a pearl of a delivery that induced an edge to Rohit Sharma, who dived across to his right from second slip to take a brilliant, low catch.
First change seamer Shardul Thakur, included for only his second test, struck with his first delivery when recalled opener Marcus Harris (5) senselessly flicked an innocuous ball off his pads straight to Sundar at square leg.
Among India’s other changes, top order batsman Mayank Agarwal was recalled to replace Hanuma Vihari, who suffered a hamstring strain in Sydney. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was forced out earlier in the week with a broken thumb.
Australia made one change from the Sydney test, with Harris replacing injured opener Will Pucovski.