India announce Playing XI for Melbourne Test

Dixit Bhargav
|Published December 25, 2018

India announce Playing XI for Melbourne Test: The Indian team announced their playing XI for the third Test of the series.

From not announcing their playing combination to announcing a shortlisted 12-member squad a day before the match to announcing the playing XI now, India have come a long way this year.

In which is perhaps the first time that the Indian team management has revealed its playing XI, it has eased up a lot of nerves, not just the players’ but of the fans as well. Given the build-up to the third Test, the 19-member Indian squad comprised of both out of form and injured players.

With the series score level at 1-1, India would be looking to force a result in Melbourne for going to Sydney 1-2 down would be the last thing they would want to see.

India’s Playing XI for Melbourne Test

1) To-order – In which was always in the making, opening pair in the first two matches in Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay has been left out for the Boxing Day Test. With both returning lacklustre numbers in four innings, the decision was always on the cards.

Mayank Agarwal, who was called in as a replacement for injured Prithvi Shaw, has been handed a debut in the all-important match. The right-hand opening batsman from Karnataka, who has been in instrumental form across formats in the domestic circuit, will unequivocally allure a lot of eyeballs tomorrow.

Hanuma Vihari, who impressed one and all with his temperament in Perth, is all in likeliness of opening the batting alongside Agarwal. While it will not be the first time that India will send a middle-order batsman to open the innings in Test matches, what will be the outcome of the same will be known in the days to come.

At No. 3, Cheteshwar Pujara, will continue to be the glue which would keep the batting line-up intact.

2) Middle-order – In captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, India will see a couple of in-form middle-order batsmen. The two senior batsmen would be looking to make most of their form on a wicket which is in likeliness of favouring the batsmen.

Rohit Sharma, who missed the second Test due to an injury, has made his way back into the side. While Sharma is likely to bat at No. 6, there is an outside chance of India taking a leap in the dark by opening the batting with him and persisting with Vihari at No. 6. In a decision which sounds high on the excitement quotient, it will be a high-risk involving call which might have strong ramifications.

Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant will continue to bat at No. 7. The 21-year old southpaw will be expected to stand tall on his assigned duty of adding quick runs with the lower order.

3) Bowlers – Having dropped fast bowler Umesh Yadav, India have included all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja which confirms the fact that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is still nursing to his injury. Whether Jadeja, who was himself injured, is 100% fit or not is also uncertain. If he is not, picking him over Kuldeep Yadav might be another risk-involving call which the management has taken.

In Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami, India have a trio of fast bowlers who can dominate the opposition batsmen. In which has been India’s strength this year, Kohli would be hoping for them to come good one last time this year.

India’s Playing XI for Melbourne Test – 1) Mayank Agarwal 2) Hanuma Vihari 3) Cheteshwar Pujara 4) Virat Kohli (c) 5) Ajinkya Rahane 6) Rohit Sharma 7) Rishabh Pant 8) Ravindra Jadeja 9) Ishant Sharma 10) Mohammad Shami 11) Jasprit Bumrah

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About the author

Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav

Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who is currently into his fifth year as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. His first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

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