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Ravichandran Ashwin doubtful for Boxing Day Test against Australia

Ashwin was earlier sidelined with the injury for the Perth Test, which hosts Australia went on to win by 146 runs to level the series at 1-1. 

Ravichandran Ashwin doubtful for Boxing Day Test against Australia
Image Credits: Reuters

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin continues to remain in doubt for the upcoming third Test of the four-match series against Australia due to an abdominal strain. 

The 32-year-old was earlier sidelined with the injury for the Perth Test, which hosts Australia went on to win by 146 runs to level the series at 1-1. 

Talking about Ashwin's injury, team coach Ravi Shastri confirmed that the off-spinner would be assessed over the next two days. 

While Jadeja is an obvious replacement of Ashwin in the Indian squad, there is also an uncertainity over the former's inclusion as he is carrying a niggle. 

Shastri informed that Jadeja had to take an injection in his shoulder soon after arrriving in Australia and , therefore, the team decided not to risk playing him in Perth Test. 

Eventually, India went with four pacers, something which cost the visitors dearly. 

"When you look at Perth, we felt (Jadeja) was about 70-80 per cent fit and we didn't want to risk that in Perth. If he was 80 per cent fit here, he (would) play.He had taken an injection even in India but he played domestic cricket after that," cricket.com.au quoted Shastri as saying. 

"He still felt stiff in the shoulder when he came here and he was injected again, and it takes time to settle," he added.

The head coach said that the team management would now monitor Jadeja's fitness in next 24 hours before coming to any conclusion. 

"We'll have to evaluate (his) fitness over a 24-hour period and take it one step from there, and also (evaluate) the conditions," Shastri said.

Meanwhile, the Virat Kohli-led side could make some other changes in their Playing XI going into the upcominmg Test. 

After missing the opening two matches, Hardik Pandya has now been declared fit and could replace Hanuma Vihari at the sixth spot. Opener Rohit Sharma, who jarred his back while fielding in Adelaide, could earn a recall. 

When quizzed if Pandya will make a comeback in the Playing XI for the third Test, Shastri said, "It gives you that option.He hasn't played much first-class cricket though, he has played just one game after the injury. We have to be careful before we actually decide on whether he plays or not."

India and Australia will head into the third Test from Boxing Day (December 26) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). 

The two squads are as follows:

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, 

Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed 

Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, 

Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Archie Schiller.