The Indian cricket team has announced their playing XI for the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) starting on Thursday, January 7.
India have made two changes, one of them forced, to the starting eleven that had registered a historic victory at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Ace batsman Rohit Sharma has been included in the playing XI in place of out-of-form Mayank Agarwal. Interestingly, Rohit will be deputy to stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the last two Tests in Sydney and Brisbane.
Meanwhile, Navdeep Saini is all set to make his Test debut in Sydney as he will replace injured Umesh Yadav in the playing XI.
Umesh had limped off with severe pain in his calf muscle on day 3 of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. The 33-year-old has already returned to India and will now aim to recover in time for the England series in February.
"We all are really excited to have him (Rohit) back in the team, especially his experience at the highest level which matters a lot. Talking about his batting, he is batting really well in the nets. He had good 7-8 sessions, came to Melbourne, started practice straightaway when our Test match got over," said stand-in India skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
"I think he is batting really well. The last couple of series he has been batting as an opener, so you will definitely see him batting at the top," he added.
Rohit missed the first two Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy as he was serving his quarantine period in Sydney. He had arrived late in Australia because of a hamstring injury he sustained in the Indian T20 League held in UAE.
The ongoing four-match Test series is currently tied at 1-1, with Australia winning the first Test in Adelaide while India registered an eight-wicket victory in Melbourne.
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
Feature image courtesy: Saeed KHAN / AFP