Sourav Ganguly has said the absence of Mitchell Starc was a reason for the ineffectiveness of off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon in the third Test in Ranchi. Starc had to cut his tour short after he suffered a stress fracture on his right foot in the second Test in Bengaluru.
Ganguly made the point that Ashwin and his Australian counterpart struggled in Ranchi because of the absence of footmarks outside the off-stump. Left-arm pacers are usually responsible for creating rough patches outside the right hander's off stump for the off-spinners to exploit later.
"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 was quoted as saying by PTI.
India appeared in control after dismissing Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw early on Day 5, needing just six more wickets to take a lead in the Border-Gavaskar series. However, Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh constructed a match-saving 124-run partnership to ensure that the match ended in a draw.
When asked about the partnership, Ganguly replied, "They (Marsh and Handscomb) played really well."