India v Australia Test series talking points: End for Warner, Gill cements place, Turning pitches
Rohit Sharma's India clinched the Test series against Australia 2-1 after the fourth match ended in a draw at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Top Tournament Stats - India v Australia Test Series 2023
The tourists bounced back from their opening two losses to win the third Test and keep the series alive until the final match.
We look at five talking points from the contest between the world's top two teams, who will face each other in the World Test Championship final at The Oval in June.
- End nigh for Warner? –
David Warner's scores of one, 10 and 15 in his three innings in India added fuel to the debate surrounding his future in the world's top-ranked Test team.
Apart from a big double-hundred against South Africa in December, the left-handed batsman has largely struggled to get runs in the red-ball format.
Warner's series ended with a blow to his head and he flew home. He was replaced as an opener by Travis Head, who looked assured against India's fearsome spin attack alongside Usman Khawaja.
Former captain Ricky Ponting said the 36-year-old Warner should have retired after the Sydney Test earlier this year, but expects the star batsman to play in the WTC final.
- Australia's spin riches –
Warhorse Nathan Lyon unsurprisingly led Australia's bowling charge with 22 wickets but he was ably supported by youngsters Todd Murphy and Matthew Kuhnemann on turning Indian pitches.
The bespectacled Murphy, 22, began with a seven-wicket haul in Nagpur and Kuhnemann, 26, made an instant impact with five wickets in the third Test after being flown in following the team's opening drubbing.
New Zealand spin great and Australia's assistant coach Daniel Vettori said: "These guys can compete on all kinds of surfaces."
- Captain Smith –
Steve Smith wore the captain's hat in the final two Tests in the absence of Pat Cummins, whose mother died, and won praise by pundits for his tactical acumen.
The 33-year-old is not new to captaincy after he led Australia between 2014-2018, before the "Sandpapergate" ball-tampering scandal in South Africa ended his tenure.
Smith said captaincy "brings the best out of me" but insisted his "time (as captain) is done".
Former quick Mitchell Johnson called Smith a "valuable asset" to Australian cricket. Ex-India coach Ravi Shastri said Smith "thrives on extra workload of leading the side".
- Gill cements place –
Shubman Gill seems to have cemented his place as an all-format player for his country.
The 23-year-old opening batsman came into the side after vice-captain KL Rahul's batting flop in the first two Tests of this series.
Gill failed to fire in the third Test but hit a glittering 128 in Ahmedabad -- albeit on a track friendly to the batsmen.
Former Australia pace bowler Shaun Tait predicted a "huge future ahead" for the attacking batsman.
Rahul's chances of a Test return are more uncertain.
- Pitch talk –
The pitches were the centre of attention in the series.
The first three Tests ended inside three days on viciously turning tracks.
The deck in the third Test was rated "poor" by the International Cricket Council after Australia won the match in Indore by nine wickets in just over two days.
"This pitch talk is getting too much. Every time we play in India it's always about the pitch," a fed-up Rohit told reporters.
"I prefer this more than just a genuine flat wicket that goes five days and can be boring in stages," Smith said after the third Test -- and ahead of an Ahmedabad match which produced exactly that.
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