SCG Test: Rohit returns, Saini included in India's playing XI
The starting XI of the Indian cricket team for the third Test against Australia, starting tomorrow has been announced. Australia and India have played two matches and the series is tied 1-1. The Ajinkya Rahane-led side has welcomed back Rohit Sharma at the expense of a struggling Mayank Agarwal. Meanwhile, Navdeep Saini has replaced the injured Umesh Yadav. Here are further details.
Mayank Agarwal failed to grind in and offer substance in the first two Tests. The promising opener got scores of 17, 9, 0, and 5 across four innings. His changed stance and dodgy footwork undid him as the Aussie pacers dominated the scenario. With Shubman Gill performing well at the MCG, Mayank had to lose his place to allow Rohit Sharma to come in.
India went in with Mayank and Prithvi Shaw for the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. With Shaw (0 and 4) struggling in the middle, he made way for the versatile Gill. While Gill showed promise and positivity in the second Test, Mayank failed to improve. And now Gill is set to bat alongside Rohit, who comes back after missing the first two games.
A look at Team India playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, M Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah.
Pacer Navdeep Saini is set to make his Test debut after Umesh was ruled out of the series. He got the nod ahead of T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur. Notably, Mohammed Siraj was preferred ahead of Saini for the MCG Test, when Mohammed Shami got injured at Adelaide. Saini has had to wait and now needs to make things count and show his credentials.
SCG curator Adam Lewis has stated the pitch will be hard with a lot of grass. Last year, Australia performed well against New Zealand with a similar SCG pitch. Given the nature of the pitch, Indian pacers will enjoy bowling here. We can also see the spinners getting some help. The Indian batsmen need to be wary of the movement and be decisive.