Former India captain Sourav Ganguly blamed Australian speedster Mitchell Starc for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's failure in the Ranchi Test which ended in a draw. Ganguly felt that not only Ashwin but Australian spinner Nathan Lyon too could not find much purchase from the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium track because of the lack of rough outside the off-stump, which is often created by the left-arm bowlers. Ashwin returned with the figures of 2/185 bowling a combined 64 overs, while Lyon got just the wicket of a tired Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings after the latter played, a classic knock 202 off 525 deliveries.
"Off-spinners did not get wickets here. This is because Mitchell Starc was not there, so the rough outside off-stump was not created," Ganguly told reporters in Kolkata.
Starc -- Australia's prime bowler -- was ruled out of the tour after playing the first two Tests due to a stress fracture in his right foot.
The third Test ended in a draw after the Australian pair of Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb stitched together a match-saving 124-run stand for the fifth wicket in their second innings.
Replying to their first essay total of 451, India rode on the brilliance of Pujara and stumper Wriddhiman Saha (117) to a mammoth 603/9 declared after taking a lead of 152.
"They (Marsh and Handscomb) played really well," Ganguly said.
The fourth and final Test will be played in Dharamsala from Saturday with the series evenly poised at 1-1.
(With inputs from IANS)