Australian cricket is once again on its knees against India after the most tantalising fifth-day action at the Gabba.
Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara held the innings together with a strong middle-order partnership.
Australia was poised to take advantage of the conditions ahead of this series. The lack of pitch deterioration this series was something that caught fans of both sides scratching their heads.
Both the Gabba and SCG pitches didn’t produce any significant fifth-day cracks and turns for the spinner. Foot marks have been the only source of disturbance or markings on the pitch.
Nathan Lyon was poised to be the hero on Day 5 in Sydney but failed to make an impact and didn’t get much help from the wicket.
A carbon copy was set up for him on a Gabba wicket that had faced the harshest of conditions from torrential rain to severe heat. That set up the game for Nathan Lyon to be the deciding factor to steer Australia’s faith.
The pitches at the Gabba and the SCG were your standard wicket blocks opposed to the new norm of a drop pitch.
The new pitches are built to last in Australia to accommodate the rigorous schedule of Big Bash and Sheffield Shield with quick turnarounds and an added pressure to keep the wickets looking immaculate.
The pitches were one of the most important factors in Tim Paine winning the toss and batting first on both decks to make sure that they were bowling last and later on when the pitch was expected to break down and provide more options for the spinner.
The pitch didn’t assist the Australian pacemen of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood or Pat Cummins with only a handful of balls providing inconsistent bounce or a deviation of movement. Most balls that deviated were drilled into the body of Pujara.
The lack of fifth-day movement was no excuse for the Aussie bowlers, but it showed a changing tide of how Australia’s pitches are becoming more of a hardened road then catalysts for swing.