Virat Kohli-less India will look to make a strong comeback against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, December 26.
The Indian cricket team suffered a humiliating defeat in the first day-night Test as the visitors were thrashed by eight wickets in Adelaide.
After being in a dominant position for the first two days of the pink-ball Test, Kohli's men endured a batting debacle on the third day as they were bundled out for their lowest-ever Test score of 36 runs.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane will be leading Team India in absence of Kohli as he has returned to India to attend the birth of his first child. India will also miss the services of pacer Mohammad Shami, who has been ruled out of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after suffering a fracture on his bowling hand. The visitors will look to replace Shami with either Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini or left-arm pacer T Natarajan.
Team India is also expected to ring in more changes for the second Test at the MCG. The team management may bring in KL Rahul and Shubman Gill as the replacements for batsmen Kohli and Prithvi Shaw, if the latter is axed.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and spinner Ravindra Jadeja will most likely make the cut in place of Wriddhiman Saha and Hanuma Vihari respectively.
On the other hand, Australia’s opener David Warner and fast bowler Sean Abbott have been ruled out for the Boxing Day Test with their respective injuries.
Australia head coach Justin Langer has hinted that the hosts will remain unchanged for the second Test starting on Saturday.
"I'll be a pretty courageous man to change the playing XI this Test match after the last one. Unless something happens over the next few days and that can in the world we live but we are going with the same XI," Langer said in a virtual press-conference on Thursday.
Tim Paine-led Australia are leading 1-0 in the four-match Test series of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21.
India vs Australia Test full squads
India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (captain), Cameron Green, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade (wicket-keeper), Marcus Harris, David Warner, Sean Abbott, Will Pucovski.
India vs Australia Boxing Day Test playing XI
India playing XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
Australia predicted playing XI: Matthew Wade (wicket-keeper), Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
Where to watch India vs Australia Boxing Day Test match live?
The India vs Australia Boxing Day Test will be telecast live at 5:00 AM IST on Sony SIX HD, Sony TEN 1 HD and Sony TEN 3 HD, along with the corresponding SD channels, from Saturday, December 26. Live streaming of Ind vs Aus 2nd Test will be available on the Sony LIV app.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / William West