After toiling hard on slow tracks during the first three Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series, the fast-bowlers could finally enjoy bowling on a friendly track as the pitch for the deciding Test in Dharamsala is likely to be ‘fast and bouncy’.
The four-match series is currently locked at 1-1 and both teams will be keen to lay their hands on the Border-Gavaskar series. However, they’ll have to alter their plans as reports suggest the Dharamsala wicket will assist pacers. Spinners have played a pivotal role in the series so far but the pacers will most likely join the party during the final Test.
The pitches in Pune and Bengaluru were rank turners and given ‘poor’ and ‘below average’ ratings respectively before batsmen heaved a sigh of relief in Ranchi. The Australian team scored 451 in the first innings while the hosts posted a mammoth 603 in reply. Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s resilient knocks then helped the visitors salvage a hard-earned draw.
Meanwhile, the news will be much-welcomed by Steven Smith’s men, who are harbouring hopes of registering a historic series win in India. Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are in good form and can play a decisive role in the upcoming match. On the other hand, the Indian bowlers are also in good nick and will fancy their chances of contributing more in favourable conditions in Dharamsala.
But India skipper Virat Kohli will be quite worried with the pitch report. Indian batsmen have struggled to do well on bouncy tracks in recent years and they’ll have their task cut out if the Dharamsala track assist pacers.
The pitch has traditionally helped seamers and pitch curator Sunil Chauhan has said it’ll behave in a similar manner when the final Test starts from March 25.
“It will behave as it has done naturally here; it will stay fast and bouncy,”Chauhan told The Times of India.
“Our pitch is one of the most difficult ones for the batsmen [when facing fast bowlers] in Ranji Trophy, and its nature won’t be altered,” he added.
Fast-bowlers enjoyed fruitful outings in the three Ranji Trophy matches played at the venue, in the last season. Bengal pacer Ashoke Dinda registered a match haul of 10/112 runs to help Bengal beat Railways by 43 runs in a low-scoring tie. In the next game, Madhya Pradesh speedster Ishwar Pandey took a match haul of 7/48 to help his team bowl out Baroda for 164 and 114 to register a 232-run win.
Meanwhile, the upcoming Test will the first one to be played at the venue which has hosted three ODIs and eight T20Is so far. The hosts have struggled to do well at new venues in the ongoing series but will be desperate to change the trend in fourth and the final Test.