Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Australia set for shock batting order shake-up in fourth Test

India skipper Virat Kohli poses with fans during a training session in Sydney on Wednesday India skipper Virat Kohli poses with fans during a training session in Sydney on Wednesday
Isaac Mcdaniel | 03 January, 2019, 04:39

While Australia must win to level the series, Paine said that his aim was on improvement, particularly in the batting department, with home Tests to come against Sri Lanka ahead of an Ashes tour to England this year. Ishant Sharma, who was excellent in the previous Test, was excluded though there was no clarity on why that was.

"We think it will spin here so if India were to play two spinners, I think Pete can be a really important player for us", he said.

Australia won the second Test and would be desperate to win the final Test to draw the series.

The hosts have one eye on levelling the series in Sydney and the other on the main prize in 2019 - retaining the Ashes - and their selections for the Sydney test, beginning on Thursday, will reflect this.

Dwelling on his obsession to win overseas, Kohli said, "The reason I said it has to be an obsession to win away from home is because you can not afford to be negative even for a single minute, a single day on tour". Umesh Yadav replaced Ishant, while KL Rahul has been named as replacement of Rohit Sharma.

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Looking calm and relaxed, Kohli said here, on Wednesday, that the thought of a series win was not putting pressure on him. Why is Ashwin in the squad if he is still unfit?

Kohli had earlier said of Ashwin: "The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what's required in order to get over that injury. Honestly, you can't predict an injury, when it happens you just manage and doing what he can to get over that injury". "We want to be able to take that legacy forward and play the kind of cricket we have played in this series, which has been exciting for people to watch as well as for both teams competing", Kohli added. "But Vihari was bowling attractive whenever he got the ball", Kohli said.

"If that's the way we go Usman will go out and give his all and I think the way he's handled the last month or so has been exemplary, so it's a real credit to him". Being out of earshot, one can only speculate, but it seemed logical that the batting group's conversation was about the pitch, which they had just seen and the support staff were discussing options with the captain following injury and/or illness revelations.

KL Rahul, who was axed for the last Melbourne Test, is back in contention and could open the innings with Mayank Agarwal, with Hanuma Vihari dropping back down to No.6 as cover for Rohit Sharma.

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