It is safe to say India’s chances of saving the ongoing 3rd Test in Sydney against Australia are looking grim. The hosts have sealed a 197-run lead at Stumps on Day 3 and still have 8 wickets in hand with two of their best batsmen in Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne finding form.
And India have suffered a huge blow as in-form all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is all set to be ruled out of the remainder of the Test series with a fractured thumb. As India’s injury list continues to grow, their chances of winning the series or retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy is diminishing.
India were written off when they were bundled out for their lowest-ever Test score of 36 and handed an 8-wicket thrashing in the Test series opener in Adelaide. The visitors were going to be without Virat Kohli for the last 3 Tests as the skipper had headed home on paternity leave after the Adelaide loss. To add to India’s woes, senior pacer Mohammed Shami was ruled out and Rohit Sharma was not available for the 2nd Test.
However, India clinched an emphatic victory in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne as a galvanised team under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy stunned the hosts and sealed an 8-wicket win to go level at 1-1. Ravindra Jadeja was back after missing the first Test and his inclusion worked wonders in Melbourne as the all-rounder made sure India did not feel the absence of Umesh Yadav, who was ruled out with an injury in the 2nd innings.
India were without three of their senior pacers in Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav for the 3rd Test but, this time, they were not written off, thanks to the stunning come from behind win in Melbourne. Navdeep Saini was handed a debut and India received a big boost as Rohit Sharma returned to the playing XI.
India managed to keep Australia to 348 in their first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which has offered the flattest wicket so far in the series. However, Australia made sure they broke the back of the Indian unit and, to an extent, their spirits with relentless pressure with the ball. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood peppered the Indian batters with short balls so much so the visitors were rattled.
At the end of Saturday’s play, India nearly lost 2 more personnel — an injury list that is just becoming too much to handle for Ajinkya Rahane and his men. Ravindra Jadeja was hit on his thumb by a vicious Mitchell Starc bouncer and Rishabh Pant took a blow to his elbow while trying to pull a Pat Cummins bouncer.
While Pant managed to avoid a fracture, Jadeja suffered one and is all set to be out of action for 6-8 weeks.
India’s injury list in Australia Test series
Ishant Sharma: The senior India pacer, who played a key role in helping India win the 2018-19 series, was ruled out of the entire series after he suffered side staring during Indian Premier League.
Rohit Sharma: The star opener has returned for the 3rd Test but India missed his experience at the top in the first 2 Test matches. Rohit was ruled out of the entire tour initially after he picked up a hamstring injury only to be later added to the Test squad. Rohit spent 14 days in quarantine in Melbourne before joining the squad for the 3rd Test.
Ravindra Jadeja: The all-rounder suffered a hamstring injury and concussion during the T20 series opener and was ruled out of the 1st Test. After starring in India’s famous MCG win, Jadeja is all set to be ruled out of the rest of the series with a thumb fracture.
Mohammed Shami: Pacer Mohammed Shami suffered a fracture to his right wrist after he was struck on his hand by a vicious Pat Cummins bouncer in Adelaide. He was ruled out of the remainder of the series.
Umesh Yadav: Umesh Yadav suffered a calf injury during the 2nd innings of India’s win in MCG. The senior pacer was returning to form as he picked up the wicket of Australia’s opener Joe Burns with a beauty before limping off the pitch. Umesh was later ruled out of the 3rd and 4th Tests.
KL Rahul: The India opener, who did not find a spot in the playing XI in the first 2 Tests, suffered a wrist injury during training in the lead up to the 3rd Test. Rahul headed back home before the start of the Sydney Test, leaving India with lesser options on the bench.