India vs Australia: 'India's resilience has got to give up,' Ricky Ponting expects Australia to go for the kill on Day 5
- India vs Australia: Ricky Ponting believes India's fight has got to end at some stage and expects Australia to have a crack at India on Day 5 of the Brisbane Test with all guns blazing.
Since Australia inflicted a crushing eight-wicket defeat on India in the first Test at Adelaide, the 2021/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been about the story of India's resilience and grit, which has allowed them to stay alive in the series, but former captain Ricky Ponting believes that the visitors' fight has got to end at some stage and expects Australia to have a crack at India on Day 5 of the Brisbane Test with all guns blazing.
After being 0-1 down, India roared back to win the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne before staging a heroic fightback in Sydney that saw them escape with a miraculous draw. In Brisbane, India, without most of the senior players, have fought tooth and nail against Australia with young bowlers stepping up.
On Monday, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur shared nine wickets to bowl Australia out for 294 in the second innings, restricting India's target to 328. With the score at 4/0 at stumps on Day 5, India need another 324 to get while Australia are eyeing 10 wickets to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"India's resilience has got to give up at some stage. They can't keep doing what they've been doing, being so resilient, and tomorrow it might be that day. The last day of the series, potentially playing for another draw, I've just got a feeling that something's got to give," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"Australia on the other hand, they know they have to go flat out and give everything to win the series. I think a drawn series will be worse than the loss a couple of years ago. That's the way I look at it, considering how hard India have found it going through 20 players in a series, (Australia) having Warner back for the last couple of games, Smith back for all them that they didn't have last time around."
With the cracks beginning to open up on the Gabba surface, Ponting backs Australia’s fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to do most of the damage, warning Australia that a 1-1 draw outcome is probably a worse result than losing 1-2 to India two years ago.
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"I think it will be (Josh) Hazlewood and (Pat) Cummins," Ponting said when asked who will take the majority of the wickets on day five. "I think the up-and-down bounce will suit them. Starc, I think probably won't get much of an opportunity with the newer ball. I think they'll use him in short, sharp spells to run and bowl fast and unsettle like he did yesterday afternoon. The majority of the wickets will go to the two big, tall right-armers."
With over 300 runs to get, the tone of the outcome could be set on how India approach their innings. With Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill putting on 70 and 71 runs in the SCG Test, Ponting believes a lot will depend on how the openers fare, with the former captain hinting that India might play a card similar to the one they played at the SCG.
"The first hour of play will be the most important for them. Not if they don't lose wickets, they have to actually get away and start scoring reasonably quickly. Ninety-eight overs tomorrow, 324 still to get so they're going to have to score at a rate that they haven't scored in the series so far," Ponting added.
"Rohit and Gill are every chance to get them off to a good start. If they do that, I think they might use Rishabh Pant up the order again, like they did in Sydney, because if it does get down to a run chase and (India are) behind the (required) run rate early on I can't see how Pujara is going to be the guy to drag them back into the chase."
Irrespective of what happens, Ponting is eager to see how the final day of an enthralling Test series plays out. "It's going to be intriguing to me to see if they come out with the thought of trying to win the game or if they're happy to try and defend and sit on it and block the day out and not even entertain going for the runs. That story will be told pretty early on in the day tomorrow," the former captain pointed out.