Australia v India, fourth test, day one

Arnold Nichols
January 3, 2019

The 31-year-old former Adelaide Oval groundsman has taken 17 wickets in the first three Tests against India.

While Ashwin had played on in Nottingham and Southampton (despite a groin injury as revealed by the team management only at the Oval), he has already missed two Tests - in Perth and Melbourne - in the on-going series.

India are engaging in mind games on the eve of the fourth Test, publicly drawing a line through Ravi Ashwin's name then including the injured star in a 13-man squad.

"It doesn't for me personally", he said on whether preventing an India series win was his key motivation. The Tamil Nadu spinner however could not pass the fitness test on Wednesday and has been ruled out of final encounter at Sydney.

First-team regular Sharma was not included, however, with the reasons for his omission unclear - fellow fast bowler Umesh Yadav was named as his replacement.

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Rahul, who was dumped after struggling in the first two Tests, is set to claim Rohit Sharma's place in the team. The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what's required in order to get over that injury. In Test cricket, he is a vital part of this team, and we want him to be 100% fit and for a longer period so that he can contribute to us more in the Test format. "You can't really predict an injury when it happens, you can just manage it", he added.

The Ashwin U-turn was not explained, although there was speculation that Jadeja may also not be fully fit. "I think the way he's handled the last month or so has been exemplary, it's a real credit to him", said Paine.

While Australia must win to level the series, Paine said that his aim was on improvement, particularly in the batting department, with home Tests to come against Sri Lanka ahead of an Ashes tour to England this year.

"Other guys may use it but my focus has been on us improving and on us playing the best possible cricket that we can and when we haven't, making sure we learn from it".

"It's just team balance really", he said. We'll have a final look at the wicket and we'll have our last chat then. "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.

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