NAGPUR: Australia are preparing to give off-spinner Jason Krejza a baptism of fire by handing him his first cap in the fourth and final Test against India. The world's top-ranked side have not lost a series home or away since the 2005 Ashes in England but trail the hosts 1-0 in the four-match series going...
NAGPUR: Australia are preparing to
give off-spinner Jason Krejza a baptism of fire by handing him
his first cap in the fourth and final Test against India.
The world's top-ranked side have not lost a series home or
away since the 2005 Ashes in England but trail the hosts 1-0 in
the four-match series going into the final test, which starts
“Being 1-0 down in a series with one match to play is a
position a lot of us have not been before,” Ponting told a news
conference on Wednesday.
“(But) we pride ourselves on playing well in big games.
This is a great opportunity for all of us to stand up and play
better cricket than we played in the first three test matches.”
The last time Australia trailed and lost a series was in
Sri Lanka in 1999 under Steve Waugh's captaincy.
Skipper Ponting said Krejza, 25, was likely to make his
debut at the new test venue on a pitch that he felt would
assist spin later in the game. He would replace either
leg-spinner Cameron White or one of the fast bowlers.
Australia are also keen to capitalise on the absence of
India's in-form opener Gautam Gambhir, who's one-test ban was
upheld by the International Cricket Council's appeal
commissioner on Tuesday.
India's new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told reporters
Murali Vijay, who was called up as cover for Gambhir, could
make his debut.
“Gambhir, along with Virender Sehwag, has been responsible
for getting India off to good starts. Without him it gives us
more opportunity to put pressure on the Indian middle order,”
Left-handed Gambhir has tallied 463 runs in the series,
including 206 in the third test where he was penalised for
elbowing Australian Shane Watson.
Vijay earned a test call-up after scoring a double century
in a domestic match this week.
In the third test Australia scored 577 in reply to India's
first innings total of 613 for seven and gave the hosts a scare
by reducing them to 93 for four at one stage.
The final test will be former captain Saurav Ganguly's last
and batsman Vangipurappu Laxman's 100th. Ponting felt this
could distract the hosts further after Anil Kumble announced
his retirement at the end of the third test.
Both teams have yet to get a feel of the new stadium,
having practiced at a different facility over the last two
days, although the captains have visited the match venue.
Dhoni said the conditions at the venue would assist reverse
swing as it did in Mohali where the hosts won the second test
by 320 runs.
“Reverse (swing) will be crucial. The new ball with the
shine doesn't really do too much (in India),” Dhoni said.
“The only option is to maintain the ball and get it to
reverse swing. We have been consistent at that over the last