The traditional Boxing Day Test match is all set to be played between India and Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket ground (MCG) from December 26. The annual Test match involves the Australian cricket team against the team on Australia tour in the season. Currently, Virat Kohli-led Indian side is on Australian tour and will face the host on December 26 in order to stay alive in the four-match Test series. Both the teams are well aware about the importance of each session in the Boxing Test match. Under-performing in one session can even change the overall outcome of the match.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday announced the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test match where Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have been dropped while Ravindra Jadeja has made his return into the squad. This is the result of constant failure of the top order where both Vijay and Rahul has scored just 95 runs in their combined eight innings in the first two matches in Adelaide and Perth.
In the Melbourne Test, it is expected that Rohit Sharma could open the innings along with Mayank Agarwal or Hanuma Vihari. However, due to injury once again, Prirthvi Shaw has been ruled out of the remaining series.
On bowling front, the left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja will be leading the spin attack for the squad, as Ashwin has still not recovered from an abdominal strain.
Talking about the Australian side, Tim Paine-led Aussies has been able to build confidence after winning the second test by 146 runs. Bowlers including Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc are expected to contribute the same way they did before.
Match Predictions: MCG Curator Matt Page has hinted the pitch of the ground will be helpful to all whether spinners, pacers or batsmen, means it will be a pitch where every player can become showman of the match. Although, the toss will be the most crucial part of the game and the captain who wins the toss is more likely to bat first and will ensure the opponent gets completely teared down.
Team India 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