NAGPUR // Australia could be forced into giving an untried spin bowler a Test debut in a must-win match against India. India lead the four-match series 1-0, meaning Australia will have to be in an attacking frame of mind to win the fourth Test to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The new Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium has only just been completed and with the training facilities not ready, both teams had to find other practice venues.
Jason Krejza, who has surged into contention because of injuries to other bowlers and Cameron White's lack of wickets in the first three Tests, probably won't get to measure his run up here before match day. The batsman Mike Hussey said that the lack of familiarity was unlikely to make an impact on Australia's performance. "I've been told that it's a beautiful green, grassy square but there's one strip that's not got a blade of grass on it, that's just what we've been told from afar," Hussey said. "From all reports it's a beautiful ground, it should be a great place to play, we're not sure about the pitch but a result pitch would be good for us."
Krejza had to be considered for selection despite his lack of experience and his expensive figures in a tour match at Hyderabad, where he returned 0-199 against a second-string Indian line-up. "Jason's been bowling well in the nets, he's been working very hard,» Hussey added. "It would be a huge test for him to come in, but what better way to find out if a guy can sink or swim." Krejza has taken 43 wickets at 50.09 in 24 first-class matches, but is considered because Australia's attack has not managed to take more than 14 wickets in a match this series.
India will be forced into changes after the captain Anil Kumble decided to retire when he injured his hand in the drawn third Test in Delhi. Harbhajan Singh should slot back into the starting line-up to replace him after missing the Delhi match with an injury. Opener Gautam Gambhir, the leading batsman in the series with 463 runs, including a double century and a hundred, could also miss out depending on when his appeal against his ban is heard.
If the appeal is still pending, he will be allowed to play. He pleaded guilty to unsporting conduct after a collision with the Australian bowler Shane Watson in a spiteful match at New Delhi, but appealed the severity of the sentence. Hussey said that the Australians would be happier to see Gambhir on the sidelines. "We're sort of hoping he'll miss the last Test but I think he'll still play pending his appeal," Hussey said. "If he is unable to play, it will certainly help us."