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The Roar


Marnus Labuschagne officially Australia's new no.3 batsman

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2nd January, 2019

India have opted to bat first as they seek to complete a maiden Test series win in Australia at the SCG, where Marnus Labuschagne has been parachuted into first drop in the hosts’ reshuffled batting order.

“It’ll get tougher and tougher to bat on as the game wears on … it’s an ideal day for us to bat,” Virat Kohli said after winning the toss.

Australia made two changes for the fourth Test, recalling Labuschagne and Peter Handscomb.

Mitch Marsh and Aaron Finch have been dropped from the side that was flogged at the MCG, with Usman Khawaja to open alongside Marcus Harris.

“I would have liked to have had a bat, no doubt … but there’s a bit of grass covering here,” Tim Paine said at the toss.

“We need to improve in all areas.”

Kolhi made two forced changes to the XI that retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Melbourne, calling up left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and opener KL Rahul.

Batsman Rohit Sharma has returned home following the birth of his first child, while veteran paceman Ishant Sharma has sore ribs.

Frontline spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been sidelined since the first Test, failed a last-minute fitness test.


Australia XI: Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

India XI: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.