Reuters Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
Mar 25, 2017, 03.50 AM
India captain Virat Kohli will miss the fourth and final Test against Australia with a shoulder injury he had suffered in the previous match in Ranchi, batting coach Sanjay Bangar said before the start of the match on Saturday.
Ajinkya Rahane will lead in Kohli's absence, making him the 33rd Test captain of India.
The other big change is that India is heading into the decisive Test with five bowlers.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav will make his debut, meaning India is fielding three spinners. The pace attack has been rejigged too, with BHuvaneshwar Kumar replacing Ishant Sharma.
Kohli, who hurt his shoulder while diving to stop a boundary in the drawn third test in Ranchi, was hoping to be fit for the decider at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium which is hosting its first Test.
Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer, who scored a double century in the warm-up gainst Australia last month, was flown into Dharamsala for the fourth Test. He was widely expected to replaced Kohli, but has been kept in the reserves.
Meanwhile, an unchanged Australia have won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch that according to their captain Steve Smith looks to have "bit of a grass". India's stand-in captain Rahane surmised the pitch as a good track to bat on for the first two to three days.
The four-match series between the world's top two test team is locked at 1-1.
Australia need just a draw to take home the Border-Gavaskar trophy, having triumphed at home in 2014-15.
A victory for the tourists will see them win their first Test series in India in 13 years.
Whatever the result, India will retain their number one Test ranking.