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Ishant to miss 4th test, decision on Ashwin awaited; Aus delay team naming

Kohli spoke at length about his disappointment that Ashwin was not fit for such an important match

Reuters 

India vs England 2018, Ishant Sharma

India have reversed an earlier decision about the availability of for the fourth and final test against Australia and named the off-spinner in a 13-man match squad on Wednesday.

With a 2-1 lead, India need only draw the test at the Sydney Cricket Ground to secure their first series triumph in Australia and something of a standoff on team-namings appeared to develop on the eve of the match.

India skipper Virat Kohli's press conference was prefaced by an announcement from a team spokesman that Ashwin was not 100 per cent fit and would not be considered for selection.

Australia's Tim Paine followed and said the hosts were waiting to finalise their team — one of their considerations being whether the Indians played two spinners at a ground that traditionally offers something for the slow bowlers.

Half an hour later, the India team sent out a message saying Ashwin was in the squad and a decision on whether he played would not be made until the first morning of the match on Thursday.

KL Rahul, dropped after the defeat, was recalled to the squad and looks set to open with Hanuma Vihari dropping down the order to bat at number six in place of Rohit Sharma, who has returned home to be at the birth of his first child.

Ishant Sharma, one of the disciplined pace trio that have done so much to put India in such a strong position, was not included in the squad.

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Ashwin took six for 149 as India won the series opener in Adelaide but was forced to sit out the second test defeat in and the win in Melbourne because of a side strain.

He underwent fitness tests on Tuesday and Wednesday and Paine said he had been surprised to hear that he was not available for the match.

Kohli spoke at length about his disappointment that Ashwin was not fit for such an important match.

"It's quite unfortunate that he's had two niggles that are quite similar on the last couple of away tours," he said.

"He's very important in test cricket, he's a vital part of this team and we want him to be 100 percent fit so he can contribute."

India squad - KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav

First Published: Wed, January 02 2019. 09:34 IST