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India Vs Australia: Here's the Probable India XI for Sydney Test

India Vs Australia: Heres the Probable India XI for Sydney Test

New Delhi, January 2: India have announced 13-member squad for the fourth and final Test against Australia in Sydney, starting Thursday (January 3).

KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-member squad for the Sydney Test while senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin faces a race against time to get fit and make it to the playing XI.

The Tamil Nadu off-spinner will face a fitness test on the match day before team management takes a call on him. Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli had categorically ruled Ashwin out of the fourth and final Test against Australia due to an ongoing abdominal issue. However, the 32-year-old was later added to the 13-man squad by the team management.

Team India will also have to look for a possible replacement of Rohit Sharma - who is back in India to be with his family after his wife gave birth to their first child.

India's 13-man squad for SCG Test: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.

India have not won a Test match at the SCG since 1978 - in the eight Test matches they have played here since, they have drawn four and lost four despite winning the toss on six occasions. Australia, on the other hand, have lost just once in their last 17 Test matches at this venue (W13, D3) and are undefeated in their last seven Tests at the venue (W5, D2).

Here's what India's Probable XI might be for the fourth Test:

1. KL Rahul

1. KL Rahul

After being rested for the third Test match due to his consistently poor form as an opener, Lokesh Rahul might just get another chance to open the Indian innings at Sydney.

Rahul has so far scored 2, 44, 2, and 0 in the four innings he has batted on this tour. Prior to Australia, he had scores of 0, 4, and 33* against West Indies at home.

That Rahul has found a place in the 13-member squad is enough to hint that the Karnataka batsman is all set to get another chance in the Playing XI and openingthe innings is the only slot he's supposed to bat.

Rahul had slammed his maiden ton on this very venue hence team management would be hoping that the right-handed batsman gets into his form here.

2. Mayank Agarwal

2. Mayank Agarwal

With his scores of 76 and 42 in his debut match, Mayank Agarwal announced his arrival at the international stage.

The Karnataka top-order batsman will thus open the innings alongside his fellow state teammate Lokesh Rahul at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

The right-handed batsman - who has been in arich vein of form in the domestic circuit - displayed his skills and class in both the innings at Melbourne and his captain would be hoping for an even better knock from Agarwal.

3. Cheteshwar Pujara

3. Cheteshwar Pujara

The right-handed batsman is the leading run-scorer in this series and team's most dependable batsman along with captain Kohli.

The right-handed batsman from Saurashtra has slammed two centuries in this series both of which resulted in a winning cause.

Hence, Pujara scoring runs for India becomes imperative if the team wishes to win the series and claim their first-ever series win on the Australian soil.

4. Virat Kohli

4. Virat Kohli

The team would expect their charismatic captain and batting mainstay to once again fire Australian bowlers and kick-off the new year on a dominant note. Kohli was the leading run scorer in the Tests last year and theteam would hope for nothing less in the final game as well.

Kohli - the captain - was superb in the Melbourne Test as he seemed to have learnt from the mistakes in Perth Test and executed his plans to perfection. Kohli rotated his bowlers well, made good fielding changes and kept his team motivated to go for the kill after India posted 443/7 in the first innings.

5. Ajinkya Rahane

5. Ajinkya Rahane

The vice-captain of the Indian team promised a century in Melbourne Test but he ended up scoring just 34 and 0 in two innings.

However, Rahane looked composed in the first Innings before getting trapped by Nathan Lyon. In the absence of Rohit Sharma lower down the order, the responsibility of strengthening the middle-order lies with Rahane.

6. Hanuma Vihari

6. Hanuma Vihari

The Andhra top-order batsman opened the innings in the previous Test and performed his duties exceptionally well by wearing out the new ball. Vihari scored just 8 runs after Kohli opted to bat but faced 66 deliveries. Vihari will once again be back to his original spot for Sydney Test.

7. Rishabh Pant

7. Rishabh Pant

The wicketkeeper-batsman will once again perform his duties from behind the stumps. Pant hasn't scored a fifty in this series but a prime reason for that has been because he batted mostly with the tailender.

The Delhi-cricketer has already equalled Syed Kirmani's record of taking 19 catches behind the stumps on a tour and therefore has an opportunity to create record pretty early in his career.

8. Ravindra Jadeja

8. Ravindra Jadeja

The all-rounder had an impressive show in Melbourne Test and would be rewarded for the same. Jadeja will be leading India's spin attack in Sydney where captain Kohli might contemplate playing two spinners.

R Ashwin will have to face a fitness test tomorrow before the start of the match hence Jadeja remains a certainty. The left-handed batsman will also contribute with the bat if theteam needs him.

9. Kuldeep Yadav

9. Kuldeep Yadav

As the pitch at Sydney assists spinners, India will be lured to go ahead with two spinners and Kuldeep Yadav might just be a better option.

The Chinaman is often hailed as India's X-factor across all formats but hasn't got too many chances in the longer format due to the presence of Jadeja-Ashwin.

But Ashwin's injury gives an opportunity to the team management to show their trust in Kuldeep.

10. Mohammed Shami

10. Mohammed Shami

The senior India pacer was the leading wicket-taker overseas in the Test format in 2018. The right-arm speedster would be eager to start 2019 on a positive note as well.

Shami has been in sublime form in the series and in the absence of Ishant Sharma his workload will increase a bit.

11. Jasprit Bumrah

11. Jasprit Bumrah

Man of the match from the previous game would be eager to continue in Sydney from where he left in Melbourne. Jasprit Bumrah returned with his career-best figures in Melbourne and established himself as the biggest match-winner for his team after captain Kohli.

A lot will depend upon Bumrah if India aim to win the fourth Test and claim their first-ever Test series win in Australia.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 13:01 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jan 2, 2019
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