India are on the brink of a first Test series win in Australia after they forced the hosts to follow-on at home for the first time in 31 years on the fourth day (Sunday) of the fourth Test in Sydney. Peter Handscomb, on Sunday, said his team will avoid defeat on the final day.
Handscomb said the rain-hampered fourth day has given his side a great chance to draw the match and restrict India’s margin of series win to 2-1. The home side finished at 6/0 in their second innings, when bad light intervened with only 25.2 overs possible through the day.
“We will be coming out tomorrow and drawing this game, and then we will assess where we need to improve and get together as a team. We know that as a batting group we can take some confidence out of tomorrow if we can last the day, showing the country and the world that we are not far off from clicking as a really good team,” said Handscomb after the fourth day’s play.
Kuldeep Yadav picked his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket, and first on Australian soil, as the home side were bowled out for 300 runs in their first innings. Yadav took 5/99 and Handscomb praised him as well as Jasprit Bumrah as two toughest bowlers to face in this Indian bowling attack.
“Obviously both are world class bowlers in their own right. Bumrah coming in can crank it up to 150 kmph and is always pretty tough with his accuracy. He has not missed his mark too much and has been able to swing it both ways, which is quite impressive with that action, and also adds to the fact how hard he is to pick,” he said.
“Kuldeep has obviously been very impressive as well. He was very accurate and hard to get on top of. With the pace that he bowled, it was hard to get down to the wicket and force through the field. He was accurate and used the footmarks well, giving it a good spin.”
He said Kuldeep has become consistent after playing more international cricket and honing his skills since his debut in 2016.
The Australian batting line-up has been criticised throughout the series as no batter has scored a century and for the first time since 2005, they’ll be following on in a Test (first time at home since 1988).
“Obviously it hurts, you never want to follow on in any Test match for obvious reasons. It is huge for us to push for the draw and we have got a really good chance to shift some momentum back into our camp. Not just for the ODIs coming up but also there’s a World Cup and the Ashes. So this movement can really start tomorrow.”
“It will be really nice if someone scores a hundred because we have not scored one this series which is obviously a big thing. Someone can come out tomorrow and score a hundred that would be great, or face 200 or 300 balls in a Test-saving knock. It will also give a lot of confidence going forward,” he said.