Ind vs Aus 2017: Mitchell Starc's absence cost off-spinners wickets, says Sourav Ganguly

The third Test ended in a draw after the Australian pair of Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb stitched together a match-saving 124-run stand for the fifth wicket in their second innings.

IANS| Updated: Mar 22, 2017, 08:26 AM IST
Ind vs Aus 2017: Mitchell Starc's absence cost off-spinners wickets, says Sourav Ganguly

Kolkata: Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly reckoned that injured left-arm quick Mitchell Starc`s absence in the third Test against Australia which ended in a draw at Ranchi on Monday, resulted in the off-spinners from either side -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon -- failing to find much purchase from the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium track.

Ganguly felt that both the off-spinners failed to find the rough outside the off-stump which is often created by the left-arm bowlers.

India`s Ashwin in his two innings returned figures of 2/185 bowling a combined 64 overs, while Australia` Lyon -- wrecker-in-chief in the first Test in Pune where he claimed career-best figures of 8/50 -- got just the wicket of a tired Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings after the latter played the innings of his life, a classical 202 off 525 deliveries.

"Off-spinners did not get wickets here. This is because Mitchell Starc was not there, so the rough outside off-stump was not created," Ganguly told reporters.

Starc -- Australia`s prime bowler -- was ruled out of the tour after playing the first two Tests due to a stress fracture in his right foot.

The third Test ended in a draw after the Australian pair of Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb stitched together a match-saving 124-run stand for the fifth wicket in their second innings.

Replying to their first essay total of 451, India rode the brilliance of Pujara and stumper Wriddhiman Saha (117) to a mammoth 603/9 declared after taking a lead of 152.

"They (Marsh and Handscomb) played really well," Ganguly said.

Ganguly did not want to read too much into Ashwin`s low returns in this tie.

"He got wickets in the last match only."

Ashwin returned with a match haul of 8/125 in the second Test played in Bengaluru. The fourth and final rubber will be played in Dharamsala from Saturday with the series evenly poised at 1-1.