Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels injured left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc's absence in the third Test played a big role in the pale show of off-spinners from both the sides in the drawn game at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.
Ganguly was of the view that India's Ravichandran Ashwin and his Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon didn't get 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.
Australia's prime pacer Starc was ruled out of the series after the second Test in Bengaluru due to a stress fracture in his right foot.
In his two innings, Ashwin returned with figures of 2/185 bowling a combined 64 overs, while Australia's Lyon got just the wicket of a tired Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings after the latter played a marathon knock of 202 off 525 deliveries.
Ganguly also praised the Australian middle-order duo of Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for stitching a gritty match-saving fifth wicket partnership of 124 runs in the visitor's second innings.
"They (Marsh and Handscomb) played really well," Ganguly said.