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India blow as spin ace Ravichandran Ashwin to miss final Test

02 January 2019

India's 13-man squad for the fourth Test: Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), KL Rahul, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. There are also reports that Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been included in the squad, might be rested for the final Test match as his struggles with injuries continue to haunt him.

The first ever Test series in honour of the two greats was played in 1996 in India and the then hosts won the only Test under Sachin Tendulkar's captaincy in Delhi.

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reacts to a missed chance.

Gavaskar said he has not received an invitation from Cricket Australia.

India and Australia have played 97 Tests between them since 1947 and, as expected, the Australians have dominated the numbers with 42 wins and 26 draws.

This was not about making history, he said, more about proving that a team already ranked number one in the world in tests could do the business on the rock hard wickets of Australia as well as the slow, brown pitches of home.

"The reason why we want to win this Test is because we understand as cricketers how hard it is to come here and play", he said.

In-form seamer Ishant Sharma was bizarrely left out of the squad and will be replaced by Umesh Yadav, while in another blow middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who hit a gritty 63 in the first innings of the Melbourne test, has jetted back to Mumbai after his wife gave birth to a daughter.

"It's just team balance really", captain Tim Paine said.

"This Test is going to be a real focus for our batting group", added Paine, whose side were rolled for 151 and 261 in Melbourne as they lost by 137 runs.

Senior batsman Usman Khawaja, whose 37 on debut in that 2011 Ashes test was one of the only highlights of a miserable five days for the hosts, would open if Finch was dropped, Paine said, with the other batsmen shuffling up one in the order. So far in the series, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood haven't managed to get many wickets with the old ball.

"We're a work in progress", he conceded. "It's got nothing to do with proving that we have done something that hasn't been done in the past".

"We know we're not going to win Test matches without scoring hundreds".

Not long afterwards, a BCCI release naming India's squad of 13 for the SCG Test stated that "the team management will take a final decision on R Ashwin's availability on the morning of the Test match".

India blow as spin ace Ravichandran Ashwin to miss final Test