SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – Rohit Sharma returns after a hamstring injury to replace opener Mayank Agarwal, whose insignificant aggregate of 31 runs in four innings made his place in the team untenable.
Rohit’s injury had kept him out of the limited-overs series in Australia as well as the first two tests in Adelaide and Melbourne.
“We all are really excited to have him (Rohit) back,” said Ajinkya Rahane, who is leading India in the absence of captain Virat Kohli who is out on paternity leave.
The 33-year-old from Mumbai will partner Shubman Gill.
“His experience at the highest level matters a lot. He had seven-eight (practice) sessions. He came to Melbourne and when our test match got over, he started his practice straightaway. He’s been batting really well,” Rahane said in a video conference before the playing XI was announced.
Rohit will also be deputy to Rahane.
Fast bowler Navdeep Saini will make his test debut for India in their third match against Australia beginning at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
The team has lost frontline pacers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav through injuries since levelling the series 1-1 in Melbourne.
“We’ll definitely miss Umesh and Shami but that gives opportunity to other guys to come and do well at the highest level,” Rahane said, citing Siraj’s impressive debut in Melbourne as inspiration.
“It’s not about one or two individuals, it’s about the bowling unit … As a team we want to do well.
“I’m really happy for Siraj. The way he bowled in the last game, especially when Umesh got injured in the second innings … Siraj was really exceptional.”