Brisbane, January 13: After an epic draw in Sydney, India will head to Brisbane for the series-deciding fourth Test, beginning from January 15. However, the task ahead of India remains as stiff as ever, if not stiffer. The Gabba stadium is fortress where Australia feel so secure than any other venue in the country. They do not have such an impeccable record even in WACA, Perth.
The Gabba remains the only venue in Australia where they have not registered at least one Test win over the years. India under Ajinkya Rahane will have to play out of their skins to beat Australia in the Fort Brisbane. Let's take a quick look at the numbers.
India: Played: 6 Tests. Lost: 5. Draw: 1
Australia: Played 62: Won 40. Lost: 8. Draw: 13. Tie: 1.
That numbers assume an even more monstrous proportions if start counting from the 1990s.
Since the start of the 90s, Australia have not lost any Test at the Gabba, winning 24 matches out of 30 with 6 draw.
Their last defeat at this venue came back in 1988. It was against the mighty West Indies under Viv Richards and that team had some all-time greats like Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose as the visitors won by 9 wickets.
Rahane's India have this daunting task of holding up against Australia at this venue. It is not the record of the Aussies alone that make India vulnerable at the Gabba. There have been injuries, banters and episodes of racial abuse -- from the hostile Aussie crowd at Sydney -- that the visiting Indian team has had to face on their current tour of Australia. But the past holds no good.
With the series locked at 1-1, Indians are faced with their biggest challenge so far -- facing the Australians at The Gabba for the series decider. But then, cricket is not played on paper and statistics will hold no meaning when Rahane and Tim Paine go out for the toss on Friday (January 15).
While past records hand Australia a slight edge, one cannot forget the impeccable performance of Rahane's boys at Sydney. With the odds stacked against them, they showed character despite the likes of Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin copping with injuries.
There are more roadblocks as Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out with a broken thumb and Vihari is out with a torn hamstring. Jasprit Bumrah is racing against time to be fit for one final assault on the Australian top-order. If any side capable of getting up from the mat after such crippling blows is this Indian side. Over to Gabba now!