Cricket-Jadeja’s hand injury increases pressure on Indian bowlers

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SYDNEY, Jan.9 (Reuters) – India had to count the cost of an injury to Ravindra Jadeja on Saturday after the left-arm pitcher was unable to take the field in Australia’s second round after losing suffered a blow to the bowling hand while striking.

The 32-year-old suffered a hit in the left thumb as he looked to defend a rising delivery from fast Australia Mitchell Starc.

He continued to strike after receiving treatment on the pitch and was then taken for scans in a blow to India’s hopes of preventing the hosts from setting a big target in the second round of the third test at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Jadeja was India’s top bowler in the opening innings and her four wickets for 62 helped the team limit Australia to 338.

His absence left India with four bowlers in the second inning and number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara felt that put more pressure on the attack.

“It puts a little more pressure on the other bowlers to come in and play more,” Pujara told reporters. “It’s never easy … especially someone like Ravindra, who got four wickets in the opening innings and he can keep bowling from one end.”

Jadeja went unbeaten on 28 as India grouped for 244, with Australia extending their lead to 197 with two days remaining in the penultimate game of the four test series.

Indian wicket keeper Rishabh Pant also had to go to hospital for a CT scan after he was hit in the left elbow as he attempted to play a shot at fast thrower Pat Cummins.

While the touring side had Wriddhiman Saha replacing Pant behind the stumps, nothing replaced the precise and crafty bowling of Jadeja’s left arm.

India also missed out on their athleticism on the field, displayed in the opening innings when they ended Steve Smith’s 131 shot with a direct hit from the depths.

“He’s someone who puts a lot of pressure on the batter and plays a lot of point balls,” Pujara added. “He’s always valuable on the court, not just as a bowler, even as a defenseman. Losing him is kind of a blow to us.”

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