India, on Tuesday, announced their playing eleven for the crucial third Test against Australia, starting December 26 in Melbourne Cricket Ground. The visitors have dropped their under performing openers – KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.
Both the players are out of form for quite some time now and the heavy loss in Perth finally compelled the team-management to take the big call. Rahul scored 2, 44, 2 and a duck in the four innings while comeback man Vijay scored 11, 18 , 0 and 20. Not surprisingly, India did not get good starts in the first two Tests and paid the price in the form of the heavy defeat in the second Test.
Mayank Agarwal, who replaced injured Prithvi Shaw in the squad, has been named in the playing eleven. The right-hander was initially dropped for the series despite not playing a single game in his maiden Test series. Rohit Sharma, who missed the second Test , has been recalled in the team too.
The right-hander will bat at his usual number six while Hanuma Vihari has been promoted to open the innings.
India have also dropped pacer Umesh Yadav to bring in Ravindra Jadeja back into the XI. This will only be Jadeja’s second away Test this year. Jadeja got just one game during the tour of South Africa and England when he played the last Test in England. He made an instant impression by scoring an impressive fifty and picking up 7 wickets in the match. In India’s last Test assignment which was against Windies at home, he scored his first Test ton.
Meanwhile, a win in Melbourne will see India take an unassailable lead. The visitors will also retain the Border-Gavaskar series after winning the last series 2-1.
India’s playing eleven for the third Test:
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah