The BCCI on Wednesday announced the 13-man squad for the fourth Test excluding Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma from the squad.
"If that's the way we go Usman will go out and give his all and I think the way he's handled the last month or so has been exemplary, so it's a real credit to him". Traditionally, the New Year's Test is always played at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground, and it is no different this year.
Ashwin suffered an abdominal strain in the first Test in Adelaide that kept him out of the second and third Tests in Perth and Melbourne respectively.
Australia and India will both play day one of the fourth test wearing black armbands.
Virat Kohli's men have a chance to create history in Sydney. He, more than anyone else, will be focused to correct this, "Kohli said on the eve of the final Test. Mr Virat Kohli, known worldwide as the best batsmen in the world and that passion that he brings on the pitch and on the field is just so exciting to watch...even though I hope you lose this week!", said the woman who introduced Kohli, now the No.1 batsman in Tests and ODIs in the world. So to take that challenge on, we want to win here.
"It's just team balance really".
Senior paceman Ishant Sharma has been ruled out due to discomfort in his left ribcage, with speedster Umesh Yadav in the frame if Ashwin is unavailable.
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But matching this offer would launch the Dubs even further into the luxury tax, as was clarified by ESPN's Bobby Marks. He was traded to the Golden State Warriors on draft night and spent two seasons with the Warriors.
Australia also decided against naming a team on Wednesday as they searched for the flawless "balance" to their side for a fourth and final test they must win on a wicket they believe will offer some turn.
Speaking of, that means Aaron Finch will be the first drop of the day, out of the team with Usman Khawaja to open the batting.
Finch, the nation's limited-overs skipper, and test vice-captain Mitchell Marsh are expected to make way with Peter Handscomb on the verge of a recall after only one match in the wilderness. However, Australia (3467) have faced more balls than India (3386) in the series so far.
"We're a work in progress", he conceded. And with the inauspicious start Labuchagne got, the third session can prove to be really hard. Mayank showing early signs that he is in for a big knock.
Ah yes, the asterisk that some Australians are likely to append to this series forever - Paine is captain because Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for their part in the ball tampering scandal and will not return until the end of March.
Austin Waugh, 19, was listed as an "emergency fielder" on the Aussie team sheet as they look to avoid a historic series loss to India on home soil.