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Cracks appearing on drier Gabba pitch, danger for India (Lead)

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Brisbane, Jan 15 (IANS) India could be in for a tough time on the Gabba wicket that is expected to break as the fourth and the final Test against Australia progresses.

The Indians, who lost the toss and were asked to field, will bat last and possibly chase a target on a fast and bouncy but dry surface that betrayed spots from where certain deliveries rose steeply on the first day itself.

Marnus Labuschagne was surprised on his personal score of 37 by a delivery from Navdeep Saini that rose sharply from a spot and caught his bat’s edge to fly to gully where India skipper Ajinkya Rahane dropped a simple chance.

He went on to score 71 more and complete his century in the process but was out by another delivery that rose steeply, this time from T Natarajan.

“I just felt on 37 the ball holding on to the wicket and kick up a little bit. I would say that the wicket is considerably drier than it would be normally. So those things could add some value as we go into Day 2, 3, 4 and 5 to the back-end. I haven’t seen a Gabba wicket is really up and down. It showed some signs of a bit of dryness,” said Labuschagne at the end of the first day’s play.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon’s biggest complaint from the Sydney Cricket Ground wicket was that it did not break up enough and did not have bounce. However, this Gabba wicket has bounce and is likely to break up and offer cracks to the bowler, playing his 100th Test.

The Gabba will tax the Indians not just because of the surface but also because of the hot and humid weather.

The Indians bowled 87 overs on the first day and have managed to pick up five wickets as the Aussies ended the first day at 274. Unless they wrap up the Aussies early on Day 2, they are in for more toil.

Labuschagne said that staying on the crease demands mental and physical fitness.

“Currently, it is the physical, the mental (strength) and make sure you are just trying to stay on. Making sure you have 100% concentration especially here in Brisbane, where it gets very hot and humid… It is a mental challenge especially at this time of the series and with the way things are,” he added.



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