Team India has made a couple of changes in their playing XI going into the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground starting from January 7 (Thursday). Currently, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is tied at 1-1 and another victory for any side will see them take an unassailable lead in the series.
Meanwhile, India will be high on confidence coming from the backdrop of a spectacular victory in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They defied all the odds to beat the host by eight wickets with skipper Ajinkya Rahane leading the side from the front. He will once again have to inspire his side as India look to keep the winning run going.
Rohit Sharma makes a return to India’s playing XI
The visitors; however, will be boosted by the return of Rohit Sharma in the playing XI. The right-handed batsman will replace out of form Mayank Agarwal at the top-order. He missed the limited-overs leg and the first two contests owing to fitness issues but the star batsman has recovered well to make a comeback in red-ball cricket for the first time in over a year. Rohit last appeared during the day-night Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata in 2019.
Moreover, India had to make a forced change after Umesh Yadav was ruled out of the series against Australia after suffering a calf injury during the Boxing Day Test. Left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan was called-up as his replacement but the youngster will have to wait for some time to make his debut.
Navdeep Saini to make his debut
Instead, Navdeep Saini has earned his maiden cap after warming the bench for most of the time in this series. The young fast bowler from Delhi boasts a good record in first-class cricket with 128 wickets from 46 games at an economy rate of 2.84. It will be a massive opportunity for Saini to leave a footprint on India’s Test side.
Other than these two changes, India have fielded the same XI that played in the Boxing Day Test. With a relatively new bowling attack, the onus will be on Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah to lead the attack and deliver the goods.
The spotlight will also be on Cheteshwar Pujara, who is yet to fire in this series. India’s No.3, who recorded 521 runs the last time they toured Down Under, will have to lift his game as the No.3 Test side look to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
India’s playing XI for Sydney Test – Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini