India announced its playing XI on Tuesday for the third Test against Australia starting in Melbourne on December 26. Team India usually announce the final 12 or 13 before a match and only after the toss they reveal their playing XI but this time around, Virat Kohli’s and team management threw another surprise by announcing a sureshot playing XI a day before the Boxing Day Test. The India-Australia series is well poised at 1-1 after two Test matches with India winning the first in Adelaide and Australia taking the second in Perth.India have made three changes to the squad as KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Umesh Yadav will have to sit out and the opening combination is set to see a complete alter.Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane form a formidable middle-order followed by Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant, who will don the gloves once again for the Boxing Day Test.The team management meanwhile, decided to include Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the squad in place of KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Umesh Yadav. Mayank Agarwal is set to finally make a debut in the Indian team.India name Playing XI for 3rd Test: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/DImj8BVTj5BCCI (@BCCI) December 24, 2018Rahul and Umesh were poor with the bat and ball, respectively, in the second Test match in Perth and hence, will warm the bench now.advertisementRahul has managed just 48 runs in four innings till now while Umesh got just 2 wickets for 139 runs in the second match which India lost by 146 runs.Rahul and Murali Vijay have struggled in Australia in the first two Tests and the lack of runs at the top has intensified pressure on the middle order of a team which has a lengthy tail.”The batsmen definitely need to step up,” Ajinkya Rahane, who has scored 164 from his four innings including two fifties, told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s third Test.”When we discuss the batting unit, that point is very important. Especially when we are abroad, the bowlers have been taking 20 wickets since South Africa, so if the batsmen help the bowlers the results will be favouring us,” the Indian Test vice-captain added.The fast bowlers meanwhile, have been retained as it was a no-brainer owing to their superb performances in the series so far.Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will continue to lead the pace attack.India name Playing XI for 3rd Test: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit BumrahLast time India and Australia played in a Boxing Day Test, it was a lifeless MCG pitch and the match ended in a draw.Virat Kohli, however, was optimistic that there was enough on the pitch to ensure a result.”Seeing the pitch now, it has much more grass than it had last time,” Kohli told reporters before the playing XI was announced.”I hope that it’s a lively pitch. I hope that it does as much as it did in the first two games because as a side, you know you’re always in for a result that way.”The surface, what I saw yesterday looked pretty dry underneath. There’s a good coverage of grass which should keep the surface intact.”I think it should have enough for the bowlers to be interested on all days of the Test match and hopefully it’s a much more lively wicket than the last time we played here.”Also Read | Hardik Pandya back in India ODI squad, MS Dhoni returns to T20I sideAlso Read | Fans stunned after KL Rahul named in ODI and T20I squads despite Test failuresAlso See:
If there’s one thing that can make South Alabama look worse than it did on Friday evening, it’s the cinematic highlights OSU put together. Oklahoma State was all over the field against the Jags, and this video is a great recapper of the festivities.Also, the Dave Hunziker “good night, Vienna” call never gets old. If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!