India will reportedly continue to miss the services of ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the final Test against Australia which starts in Sydney from Thursday.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted a Team India spokesperson as confirming that Ashwin will miss the final of four Tests as he has not recovered from a side strain. He had missed the second and third Tests as well. There were some chances that India's premier spinner would be fit enough to return to the playing XI ahead of the Sydney Test on a pitch that tends to assist turn and was even part of the net session on Wednesday morning. It is reported, however, that the team's medical staff did not want to take any chances and opted to extend the rest period for Ashwin.
In Ashwin's absence, the spin duty for Team India has fallen on Ravindra Jadeja and young Hanuma Vihari even as the side has relied mainly on its quicks to deliver the results. And the results have come. Jasprit Bumrah was unforgiving at Melbourne with figures of 6/33 and 3/53. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami too have been impressive through the series.
Taking the nature of the track at SCG, Team India will have a lot of thinking to do about what bowling combination is opted for. An additional spinner may be what is the need of the hour but sticking with the same side that won in Melbourne could also be a temptation worth giving in to.
India leads the series 2-1 and would look to either hammer in the final nail in the Aussie coffin or maintain the margin.