Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said that fast bowler Mitchell Starc’s absence in the Ranchi Test played a big role in the insipid show of off-spinners from both the teams, reported PTI on Monday. The Test match ended in a draw with both teams heading to Dharamsala for the fourth and final Test, which will decide the series.

Ganguly said that India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and his Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon did not get a lot of assistance from the Ranchi pitch due to a lack of rough outside the off-stump, which is often created by the left-arm bowlers.

“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 said.

Australian bowler Starc was ruled out of the series after the second Test in Bengaluru due to a stress fracture in his right foot. In the Ranchi Test, Ashwin returned with figures of 2/185, while Australia’s Lyon got the sole wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings after the latter scored 202 off 525 deliveries.

Ganguly also praised Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for their match-saving fifth wicket partnership of 124 runs in the second innings. “They [Marsh and Handscomb] played really well,” Ganguly said.