Australia captain Pat Cummins will remain in Sydney to support his seriously ill mother, ruling himself out of the fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad.
- Cummins’s mother Maria is in palliative care
- Steve Smith will captain Australia in Cummins’s absence
- The fourth Test begins on Thursday
Cummins returned home after Australia’s second-Test defeat in Delhi to be close to his family, with his mother Maria having been placed into palliative care.
Steve Smith stepped in as skipper for the third time since Cummins became Test captain in November 2021 for Australia’s famous nine-wicket win in Indore last week.
The team checked in with Cummins after the memorable victory at Holkar Stadium on Friday, as Australia celebrated just its second Test win on Indian soil in 19 years.
India has already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the Delhi Test.
Meanwhile, Todd Murphy received a special mention from Smith after the win in Indore, despite fellow spinners Nathan Lyon and Matt Kuhnemann taking all the wickets.
Lyon put in a legendary performance to take 11-99 for the match in Indore, while Kuhnemann grabbed his first five-wicket haul in just his second Test.
Murphy, who had a slight side injury after the second Test loss in Delhi, finished across India’s two innings with figures of 1-41.
While Murphy’s figures were unremarkable, it was the 22-year-old’s ability to keep bowling tight when wickets were not coming that was impressive.
Australia assistant coach Daniel Vettori, arguably New Zealand’s greatest spinner, said Murphy’s performance in just his third Test had not gone unnoticed.
“Steve Smith singled him out around his performances in the last Test,” Vettori said on Monday.
“His spell allowed everyone around him to take those wickets.
“The fact that (Virat) Kohli had never been stumped before that Test match in Delhi when Murphy got him out.
“I think Todd has that skill that he can be a defensive bowler and he can be an attacking bowler and work around pretty much whatever is required from him in the game.
“For such a young spinner, and inexperienced spinners as well, he hasn’t played that much first-class cricket, to be able to come here and handle these tough situations and perform the role that’s required has been impressive.”
Australia will leave Indore on Monday for Ahmedabad ahead of the fourth Test, starting on Thursday at the 132,000-seat capacity Narendra Modi Stadium.
Ahead of the ODI series in India, Australia has been dealt an injury blow.
Fast bowler Jhye Richardson will miss the three-match series because of a hamstring injury.
Tasmanian Nathan Ellis has been named as Richardson’s replacement.
The first match will be played in Mumbai on March 17, before the series moves to Vizag (March 19) and Chennai (March 22).