IND vs AUS: Australia’s Test tour of India has gone as expected from the Indian fans and mostly opposite to what Australia would have hoped for: at the mid-point of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 series, India have won both the matches, and look set for another series win over Australia – which would be their 4th in a row over the once-the-mighty Aussies!
Australia were outplayed in both departments in the first Test, but they did give India a big scare in the second Test, by the end of Day 2, before, on the morning of Day 3, Ashwin and Jadeja wreaked havoc to wrest back the control of the game and the series.
Now, however, Australia will struggle to put their best XI in the third Test, which will start in Indore. Here’s why:
IND vs AUS: Australia are dealing with injuries and uncertainties in their squad
Australia captain Pat Cummins flew back home straight after the completion of the second Test “due to a serious family health issue”. It is reported that Cummins will return in time for the 3rd Test, starting March 1, but nothing is confirmed yet. If Cummins is not back for the Indore Test, then vice-captain Steve Smith will lead the team.
Pat Cummins played as the sole quick in Australia’s XI in Delhi but did not bowl in the fourth innings of the match.
David Warner, the senior opener but who’s struggled like a cat on a hot tin roof in this series, has been ruled out of the remainder of the series due to his elbow fracture, so has been senior seamer Josh Hazlewood because of his Achilles injury.
While Australia have some respite in the form of Cameron Green attaining his fitness from the finger injury and is expected to play in the third Test in Indore, the visitors continue to fret over Mitchell Starc’s finger injury.
There are more injury concerns: off-spinner Todd Murphy, who made his debut in the Nagpur Test and impressed everyone with a 7-wicket haul and played in Delhi also, is battling some minor side soreness.
“We’ve got some decisions to make around squads and injuries,” coach Andrew McDonald said, with a forlorn look, knowing Australia will need a miracle like what India did on their 2020/21 tour Down Under to turn their series around.
Wait, there’s more: left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who was part of the Australia squad for the first two Tests but didn’t get to play, has flown back home and will feature in the ongoing Sheffield Shield tournament. With Matthew Kuhnemann being flown in from Australia after the first Test despite Agar being in the squad and then Kuhnemann made his Test debut in Delhi, Agar seems to have lost the confidence of the management and has left for home.
It has been reported, by abplive.com, that fast bowler Lance Morris, who was part of the squad so far, has also returned back to Australia.
Are Australia cancelling the tour?
No. So, unless there is an official Armageddon, Australia will continue with the tour and play out the remaining 2 Tests, even if they are, in their own minds and soul, certain that they’d come out with losses.