Rohit Sharma will walk out to open the batting with Shubman Gill and young Navdeep Saini will make his debut in the third Test against Australia as India announced their playing XI for the all-important encounter which begins on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Rohit’s inclusion means Mayank Agarwal has to sit out after he failed to garner significant scores in the first two Tests.
Saini, on the other hand, replaced Umesh Yadav in India’s playing XI. Yadav picked up an injury during the second innings of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. He had sustained a strain in his left calf muscle after which he underwent scans later that day. The BCCI further stated that the fast bowler won’t be able to recover completely ahead of the remaining two Test matches and hence, was ruled out of the series.
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane said Rohit, who is also named as the vice-captain of the side, has been batting really well in the nets and he would be seen batting at the top of the innings in the Pink Test.
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“He [Rohit] has been batting really well, the last couple of series, he has been playing as an opener, so you will definitely see him batting at the top,” said Rahane.
India have decided to go with the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who shared a total of 8 wickets at the MCG, which India won by 8 wickets.
Right-arm pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be leading the pace attack and is expected to show the way with his bagful of tricks. Whether it’s Siraj or Saini, whoever shares the new ball will have their task cut out as they aim to match the highest standards set by the likes of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.
“We’ll definitely miss Umesh and Shami but that gives opportunity to other guys to come and do well at the highest level. It’s not about one or two individuals, it’s about the bowling unit … As a team we want to do well. I’m really happy for Siraj. The way he bowled in the last game, especially when Umesh got injured in the second innings … Siraj was really exceptional,” Rahane said in the pre-match virtual presser.
India’s Playing XI vs Australia for 3rd Test: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah