India skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Wednesday said that Rohit Sharma has been batting really well in the nets and he would be seen batting at the top of the innings in the Pink Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Rahane’s remark came as India gets ready to lock horns with Australia in the third Test of the four-match series at the SCG from Thursday. There has been speculation as to who Rohit will replace in the Playing XI in the third Test. “Firstly, we all are excited to have Rohit back, his experience at the highest level matters a lot. He is batting really well in the nets, he has had 7-8 sessions, he started practicing in Melbourne as soon as he arrived there after the end of the second Test. He has been batting really well, the last couple of series, he has been playing as an opener, so you will definitely see him batting at the top,” said Rahane during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
Ahead of the third Test against Australia, Rohit was also named as the vice-captain for the longest format. T Natarajan was added to the Test squad for the remaining two Test matches against Australia on January 1. The left-arm pacer had replaced Umesh Yadav, who sustained a strain in his left calf muscle on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
“Umesh is our main bowler, he has been doing well for us, it’s unfortunate that he got injured, we will definitely miss him, but it gives an opportunity to other guys to do well at the highest level, Jasprit and Ashwin have been great for us, it’s about an entire bowling unit, I am really happy for Siraj with the way he bowled in the second Test, with Umesh getting injured in the second innings, Siraj really stood up,” said Rahane.
Australia has been able to score 200 just once in the ongoing series. Even the hosts have acknowledged that the plans of the visitors have been top-notch. Ravichandran Ashwin has also managed to get a hold on Steve Smith as the off-spinner has dismissed the batsman twice in the series.
“As a team, you have 3-4 plans and you have to see which plan can work on the given day, if plan A doesn’t work, then we go to other plans. Australia is a very dangerous team so you have to be prepared, depending on the situation and wickets, we plan the stuff,” said Rahane.
“The thing with Ashwin, his knowledge, he is always looking to learn some new skills and that’s what matters a lot, really happy to see Ashwin bowling this well, let’s hope he continues his form in the next two Tests as well,” added Rahane.
Both the Indian and Australian line-ups moved to Sydney on Monday after every member of their respective contingent tested negative for COVID-19. India had levelled the four-match series against Australia after securing an eight-wicket win in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Team India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan.
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