Australia v India, fourth test, day one

Can captain Virat Kohli start 2019 by helping India rewrite history in Australia

Can captain Virat Kohli start 2019 by helping India rewrite history in Australia

Indian players on Thursday wore black armbands to pay respect to coach Ramakant Achrekar, who died on Wednesday, as the fourth and final Test against Australia began at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Now he returns to the same venue with India having a wonderful chance to win a Test series in Australia for the first time. With Ishant Sharma's name missing from the shortlist, Kohli will have to alter his bowling combination as well.

India skipper Virat Kohli said he was "very disappointed" Ashwin was set to miss the final match of the series but barely an hour later, the spinner's name was included on the squad list tweeted by the BCCI.

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Australia won the second Test and would be desperate to win the final Test to draw the series. But Kohli's team has already reached a position where it can not lose the series and will go all out to close the Sydney match on a winning note to justify its position as the top-ranked Test team. When asked about Ashwin, Kohli said: "Well, it's unfortunate that he has had two niggles quite similar in the last couple of away tours".

With the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav, the two spinners will in all likelihood bamboozle the Australian batsmen.

The day started with Ashwin being ruled out of contention during Kohli's press conference.

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The visitors recalled KL Rahul (who departed early for nine) and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav for Rohit Sharma (birth of child) and Ishant Sharma (side strain).

"He's very important for sure". Pat Cummins looked the best of the bowlers again, starting too full but adjusting his length and line beautifully to test both the batsmen. Being out of earshot, one can only speculate, but it seemed logical that the batting group's conversation was about the pitch, which they had just seen and the support staff were discussing options with the captain following injury and/or illness revelations. "But the fact that Vihari has bowled beautifully whenever we've given him the ball makes us feel absolutely calm about Ashwin not being able to play", said Kohli. Sydney, though, has not been a happy ground for India as they have lost five of the 11 Tests played here and managed to win just one way back in 1978.

KL Rahul, who was axed for the last Melbourne Test, is back in contention and could open the innings with Mayank Agarwal, with Hanuma Vihari dropping back down to No 6 as cover for Rohit.

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