Johnson: Indian team will be nervous ahead of Dharamsala Test

The former Australia fast bowler suggests grass on the pitch for the fourth Test will make Australia buoyant.

Steve O’ Keefe may have to make way for Jackson Bird in Dharamsala, according to Mitchell Johnson.   -  Reuters

Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has said the Indian team will be “nervous” ahead of the fourth Test in seamer-friendly Dharamsala where Steve Smith and his boys should feel confident.

“Dharamsala is an amazing ground and the only times I have seen it are with grass on (the pitch). So I think that’s why the Australians will probably be confident and India will be a little bit nervous. I think they’ve been overconfident in this series and I think the scoreline shows that,” Johnson told Fox Sports.

The Aussie pace bowling great feels that Pune Test hero Steve O’Keefe may have to make way for Jackson Bird due to the pitch conditions when the fourth Test gets underway Saturday onwards. “I think we’re going to lose a spinner out of this Test match,” he said.

“The spinners have been great throughout the series. There’s been a lot of pressure on the spinners to go out there and perform and I think they’ve had some good patches and some bad patches. But that’s the game. It’s a tough one because they have both had their moments in this series, but I think you have got to go with experience.

“I think Nathan Lyon will get a lot more bounce and he has been turning the ball quite nicely. But then again, you’ve got to look at left-and-right-hand combinations,” Johnson said.

Johnson feels Bird will be suitable choice in Australia’s bowling armoury for the track at Dharamsala. “If it’s more of an Australian kind of wicket, I think you’ll see Nathan Lyon bowl and Bird come in as the third quick.”

Johnson, a veteran of 73 Tests, praised Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for saving the third Test in Ranchi for Australia, providing it with psychological advantage. “[The result in Ranchi] gives Australia a huge advantage I think. For them (India) to know that it’s not about Steve Smith and David Warner, other guys in the team can perform and can play out for a draw. They dug in and played exceptional cricket.”

“They (Australia) will be pumped after that. Even though it was only a draw, to them it will feel very good and very positive. Because they have collapsed a lot in the past. That’s why I’m confident Australia will win.”

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