After the opening pair failed to deliver in the Perth test against Australia and India lost the match, a new pair will open at the Melbourne Test.
Mayank Agarwal will make his test debut on Wednesday with spinning all-rounder Hanuma Vihari joining him as the new opening pair.
Poor batting in the second innings of the Perth Test was the reason for India’s crushing defeat that leveled the four-match series 1-1. The opening pair – KL Rahul and Murali Vijay – accumulating just 95 runs in 8 innings. They also opened the Perth innings for India.
India and Australia will play their third Test from December 26 to 30.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja has been included in the playing XI as first choice spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sustained a left-sided abdominal strain ahead of the Perth Test and will be assessed over the next couple of days.
Jadeja was excluded from the Perth test and coach Ravi Shastri said it was due to a stiff shoulder. However, there was a twist in the tale when the chief selector later said that Jadeja was fit at the time the team selection was made.
“R Ashwin is recovering well from his left-sided abdominal strain but not 100 per cent fit. The team management is closely monitoring his progress,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) statement said.
What it’s like to witness @imVkohli & co. train at the MCG
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 24, 2018
Following are the playing XI: 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.