India is in the danger of losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to the Kangaroos at Perth after coming into the Third Test with two consecutive defeats. Even if India manages to draw the Third Test, the Series will be sealed 2-0 by Australia. So it would take nothing less than two wins for Team India at Perth and Adelaide to draw the Series 2-2 which looks highly unlikely based on the current form of its players. On their previous tour to this country in 2007/08, India was in a similar position 0-2 down but more than its performance at that time all the talk centered on the tensions between the two teams following the Monkeygate.
A determined India team pulled off a magical victory last time around in Perth and this time too is looking for some salvation at this venue. A lot really depends on the batsmen for India, if they get the big runs, then there is any chance of a victory. Well so far that hasn’t happened in the four occasions so far in the two Tests with none of the Indian batsmen able to score a century. The bowling looked good in the First Test for India at Melbourne but in the Second Test at Sydney it looked very ordinary with the exception of the new ball spell from Zaheer Khan.
The WACA Ground in Perth as expected should be really quick and the ball is likely to jump around with plenty of high bounce. The pitch at Perth would most probably be a result-bound strip and we can’t really say if there is going to be any chance of a draw on this spicy strip. Its not the ideal wicket for any sub-continent team who are used to the low bounce conditions back home but like in the last tour in 2007/08, India would hope to find some magic. Perhaps the batsmen could do well in avoiding driving through the line because of the extra bounce. This could be one last chance for the duo of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman to answer their critics by getting a big score on a challenging Perth Pitch.
India should give debut for Rohit Sharma in tomorrow’s third Test at Perth in the place of Virat Kohli. But as per reports, India might still stubbornly persist with Virat Kohli despite failing to score anything significant in the four innings so far. There is a talk that the tourists would go in with a four-man pace battery by including R Vinay Kumar in the place of off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. In that case, Vinay Kumar will make his Test Debut on what would be a perfect pitch for his kind of bowling.
The Aussies have been given a blow ahead of this Test because of the foot injury to James Pattinson. While his replacement is Ryan Harris who can bowl at good speeds of 150 kmphs, one will have to see if he can quickly get into the mould of bowling in consistent areas like Pattinson. The hosts are in a fix whether to play the tall left armer Mitchell Starc as the fourth quick or retain off spinner Nathan Lyon just for the sake of keeping the over-rate healthy.
Australia’s weakness in this series has been their top order - the left-handed trio of David Warner, Ed Cowan and Shaun Marsh who have been Zaheer Khan’s bunny so far. The homeside has been rescued out of tricky situations in the last two Tests by its three senior batsmen - Ricky Ponting, Skipper Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey. Another weakpoint in the Australian team is Wicket Keeper Brad Haddin struggling both with the bat and his keeping. Haddin has put down a few catches in the series already and hasn’t moved fluently on either sides of the stumps in collecting the balls. Fortunately for him, the Indian batsmen haven’t made him pay for the dropped catches.
Pitch and Weather Conditions at Perth :
The 22 yards strip at Perth should be fast and bouncy with lots of live green grass cover on the pitch to make the ball fly off the turf with brisk speeds. However, the Curator Cameron Sutherland has indicated that the hot conditions in Perth recently are taking a toll on the pitch and there is a possibility of wearing it down.
Apart from the seaming conditions, the WACA Ground also encourages good swing bowling because of the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ factor - which is nothing but an Aussie term for the cooling afternoon sea breeze.
The weather conditions at Perth for the next five days aren’t all that promising for cricket with possibilities of late shower on Day 1, a thunder storm on Day 2, a sunny Day 3, a passing shower on Day 4 and a sunny Day 5. The temperatures are expected to be around 30-35 degrees for the five days.
- BV Swagath