Jackson Bird is likely to play the fourth Test against India on Dharamsala, after Australian cricket team captain Steve Smith hinted on Friday that the visitors can opt for an extra fast bowler in the series decider, starting on Saturday.
Talking at the pre-match press conference, Smith said, “We’ll have another look tomorrow and see what (the pitch) looks like then but there’s a little bit of grass. The groundsman thinks the first three days it won’t take much spin.
“It’s a bit different to what we were kind of expecting.”
The Dharamsala pitch has historically supported the fast bowlers and as a result, Australia may opt for their reserve pacer Bird in place of a specialist spinner. According to several reports, he might replace Steve O’Keefe, who took 12 wickets in the first Test in Pune.
Sunil Chauhan, the chief curator in Dharamsala, told HT on Thursday that the pitch will be a true Test match wicket where fast bowlers and will prosper.
“The pace bowlers will enjoy bowling on this wicket while batsmen who play the cut and pull shot will also get value for their shots,” Chauhan stated.
In the three first-class matches played at the HPCA Stadium, the fast bowlers have accounted for 89 of the 99 wickets that fell. These figures give a clear indication at how the pitch has behaved in the recent past and that can be a huge reason behind Bird’s inclusion.
Bird has taken 34 wicket in eight Test matches since making his debut against Sri Lanka in 2012. The Sydney-born fast bowler is a known name in the Australian domestic circuit and his inclusion can provide a huge boost to the visitors in Dharamsala.