India were left to count the cost of an injury to Ravindra Jadeja on Saturday after the left-arm spinner was unable to take the field in Australia's second innings after suffering a blow to his bowling hand while batting.
The 32-year-old was hit on his left thumb as he looked to defend a rising delivery from Australia quick Mitchell Starc.
He continued batting after receiving treatment on the field and was later taken for scans in a blow to India's hopes of restricting the hosts from setting a big target in the second innings of the third test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Jadeja was India's best bowler in the first innings and his four wickets for 62 helped the side restrict Australia to 338.
His absence left India with four bowlers in the second innings and number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara felt it put more pressure on the attack.
“It puts a little extra pressure on the other bowlers to come in and bowl more overs,” Pujara told reporters. “It's never easy... especially someone like Ravindra, who got four wickets in the first innings and he can keep bowling from one end.” Jadeja remained unbeaten on 28 as India were bundled out for 244 with Australia stretching their lead to 197 with two days remaining in the penultimate match of the four-test series.
India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant also had to make a trip to the hospital for a scan after he was hit on his left elbow while trying to play a pull shot against fast bowler Pat Cummins.
While the touring side had Wriddhiman Saha replacing Pant behind the stumps, there was no replacement for Jadeja's accurate and astute left-arm spin bowling.
India also missed his athleticism on the field, displayed in the first innings when he put an end to Steve Smith's knock of 131 with a direct hit from the deep.
“He's someone who puts lot of pressure on the batter and bowls many dot balls,” Pujara added. “He's always valuable on the field not just as a bowler, even as fielder. Losing him is kind of a blow for us.”
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