India vs Australia: Rohit all set to replace Mayank, dilemma over third medium pacer

Indian team during their training session at the SCG on Tuesday. Image: BCCI

Xtra Time Web Desk: Ace Indian batsman Rohit Sharma is all set to make a comeback into the playing XI for the third test match against Australia starting from Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The vice captain of the Indian test team is likely to replace an out of form Mayank Agarwal for the Pink Test. The Indian team management is also weighing its options for the third pacer”s slot with Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini in contention.

Shardul Thakur was considered a favourite few days back but it is learnt that there are some senior players, who feel that Saini, India”s fastest bowler by a distance, could be used to unsettle the wobbly Australian batting line-up with his raw pace.

The Indian team had a net session at the overcast Sydney Cricket Ground on the day and all eyes were on Rohit Sharma, who looked pretty comfortable against both pace and spin. The decision on the third pacer has been primarily delayed because on Tuesday, the SCG centre strip was covered due to overcast conditions.

On Wednesday, a look at the strip and the conditions will probably help them make a decisive choice.

If the conditions are overcast and there is bit more moisture on the strip, then Thakur is expected to be preferred.

If the track is on the flatter side, Saini, with his pace and ability to reverse the old ball, could prove to be a handful against a batting order that is struggling to put up even 200 runs on the board.

If Saini plays, it will be his debut in the longest format while for Thakur, it would be like a debut as he couldn”t even finish his first over when it was officially his debut two years back.

Rookie pacer Thangarasu Natarajan, who has had a tremendous white ball series on this tour is all in the reckoning for a place in the playing XI.

India (likely): Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini. 

With Inputs from PTI

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