India's Ashwin back in Test frame, paceman Sharma left out

Melbourne pitch,Average,ICC

Melbourne pitch,Average,ICC

Indian skipper Virat Kohli himself confirmed the news of Ashwin having failed to clear the fitness test on the eve of the New Year's Test match at Sydney and mentioned that his unavailability was a big blow to the side.

That's half-century for Mayank Agarwal, who is playing his second Test. Virat Kohli and men now lead the series 2-1 and it will be a monumental task for Tim Paine's side to topple the rampant Indians.

Which 11 players will take up that challenge will not be known until Thursday's toss but what is certain is that batsman Rohit Sharma, who has returned home for the birth of his first child, and injured quick Ishant Sharma will not be among them.

Answers to these and more as Cricket Analyst, Mr Ashutosh Paibhale discusses the Sydney Test in detail.

After leveling the series with a 146-run win in the second test in Perth, the Australians were again outplayed in Melbourne on a wicket where India won the toss and batted for the first two days to set up victory. However, he can breathe a sigh of relief as Ishant Sharma is out with an injury.

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"Well, it's unfortunate that he has had two niggles quite similar in the last couple of away tours", Kohli said. "That's obviously him, more than anyone else, who will be focused to correct".

"He is very important for sure. Honestly, you can't predict an injury, when it happens you just manage and doing what he can to get over that injury".

"The silver lining is that in a few months we're going to have some world class guys returning and we're going to have some younger guys with eight to 10 tests under their belts". "I think it [Ashwin's absence] does make you alter your plans a little bit throughout the course of a series", Kohli said.

Tim Paine has been somewhat critical of the pitch at Sydney Cricket Ground, claiming it does not suit their bowlers as much as it should which suggests it will not play particularly fast, but they remain reliant on their pacemen once again and there is no chance of any changes to his bowling unit unless there are any injury concerns that have not been disclosed. Vihari has looked like picking up a wicket every time he comes on to bowl. The likes of Williamson, Kohli, Smith, Warner, Root, Butler, and Bairstow play a lot of T20 also, but have adjusted to the longer format. Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Jadeja seem like certainties with the last spot to be contested by Ashwin, Umesh and Kuldeep.

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