'What a disaster': India hit by 'never-before-seen' crisis in fourth Test

Chris Young
·4-min read
India were forced into four changes and playing two debutants in the Gabba Test due to a worsening injury crisis. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
India were forced into four changes and playing two debutants in the Gabba Test due to a worsening injury crisis. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

India will cross their fingers and hope to avoid any further injuries to their already depleted squad as the fourth and deciding Test in the Border/Gavaskar series gets underway.

The visitors waited until Friday morning to release their final line-up, as a lengthy injury list ballooned further.

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With Virat Kohli (paternity leave), Mohammed Shami (arm), Umesh Yadav (calf), Ishant Sharma (side), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (thigh) and KL Rahul (wrist) already out, India have been forced into a further four changes for the series decider.

Jasprit Bumrah (abdominal), Ravichandran Ashwin (back spasm), Hanuma Vihari (hamstring) and Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) have all been ruled out of the side, with Mayank Agarwal, Shardul Thakur and debutants Thangarasu Natarajan and Washington Sundar stepping in to replace them.

It means Mohammed Siraj, who only made his debut at the MCG, will lead an incredibly inexperienced pace attack.

The absence of Bumrah and Ashwin, who was a leading contender for man-of-the-series honours and dug in with the bat to secure a draw at the SCG and set up a winner-takes-all Test at the Gabba, leaves a major void for the tourists.

"There was no other option. In the end it's all about opportunity for all those guys playing," stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane said of making so many changes.

Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) and Hanuma Vihari (hamstring) were also enforced omissions.

It has been an injury-cursed series for India.

Agarwal, Rishabh Pant (arm) and Cheteshwar Pujara (finger) are all pushing through the pain barrier in Brisbane.

The lengthy injury list prompted some astonished reactions from fans on social media.

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Australia are banking on Marcus Harris to help deliver victory in arguably their most important Test on home soil since Justin Langer became coach.

Langer's side have crushed Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand in home series while rising up the Test rankings after the Cape Town cheating scandal.

India, who outclassed an Australian side that sorely missed suspended superstars Steve Smith and David Warner in 2018-19, have provided stubborn resistance this summer.

The four-Test series is level at 1-1 after the SCG draw.

Marcus Harris has been recalled for the fourth Test against India at the Gabba. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Marcus Harris has been recalled for the fourth Test against India at the Gabba. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

An Australian victory in Brisbane would be rewarded with the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which they haven't grasped since 2017, and top spot on the International Cricket Council rankings.

Will Pucovski's shoulder injury has plunged Harris into the pressure-laden contest that begins on Friday.

Harris, who was dumped after the 2019 Ashes, has waited 16 months for a Test recall.

The left-hander has watched selectors prefer Pucovski, David Warner, Joe Burns and Matthew Wade at the top of the order throughout the current series.

With AAP

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