Austin Waugh gets special call-up for fourth Test

File image of Steve Smith and David Warner

More importantly, it will be the first ever Test series win for India on the Australian soil.

The stakes will be high on Thursday morning when Australia and India step onto the green pitch of Sydney Cricket Ground to play the fourth and final Test match of the ongoing series. India outclassed Australia in all departments in the third Test in Melbourne and won the match by 137 runs after the hosts tied the series 1-1 in Perth.

"We think it will spin here so if India were to play two spinners I think Pete can be a really important player for us", Paine said.

Middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who struck a dogged 63 in the first innings at Melbourne, is not available after flying back to Mumbai to be with his wife who recently gave birth.

This is on assumption that regardless of Ashwin's fitness, India will opt to play four bowlers, whether in a two-pacer-two spinners or three-pacers-one-spinner combination. Umesh Yadav replaced Ishant, while KL Rahul has been named as replacement of Rohit Sharma.

What followed was a period of lull, that helped Kohli get his eye in, and all that stood compensated towards the end of the session, when Pujara and Kohli feasted on some exhausted bowling from the spinners.

Paine's compatriot reiterated that his side is desperate to level the series and kick-start the new year on a positive note but on paper, the hosts are miles away from toppling the Indian juggernaut which doesn't seem to stop anytime soon. "We shared a laugh as we remembered the old times", said the "Master Blaster". Kohli will join Ganguly as the only Indian captain to have achieved this feat in Australia.

Nonetheless, in 2004-05, Australia were a class apart as they conquered one of the toughest challenges in world cricket - beat India in India and ended a 34-year-long drought for a series win in the Asian nation. Kohli has matched that record in 24 away Tests.

Barring an overnight change of thinking, the shock move would enable the Australian hierarchy to tinker with the batting line-up without a dramatic overhaul that would unsettle the team with only three tests left until the Ashes. It's likely there'll be a reshuffle of the faltering top order, with Usman Khawaja tipped to move up to open the innings, and Marnus Labuschagne a contender for a call up as a backup spinning option on a wicket expected to favor spin as it deteriorates.

Australia have parachuted leg-spinning batsman Marnus Labuschagne into the squad for Sydney and he could start if selectors feel there is enough in the track to warrant playing him alongside Nathan Lyon.

The main difference between both the sides in the series so far is number of fifty-plus stands.

India (Final 13): Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin.

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