Australia vs India 2018-19: Latest injury updates on Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin
What's the story?
'Hitman' Rohit Sharma, who missed the second Test match at Perth due to the injury he sustained at the Adelaide Oval, has been declared fit ahead of the highly anticipated Boxing Day Test against the hosts Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Meanwhile, India's star-performer with the ball during the Adelaide victory - Ravichandran Ashwin - has started practising in the nets too, much to the delight of the Indian cricket fans.
While Ashwin played a pivotal role in India's 31-run win over Australia at Adelaide, Rohit failed to make a mark with the bat scoring 37 and 1 in the first and second innings respectively. Unfortunately for India, both these stars had to miss the second Test at Perth's Optus Stadium owing to injuries.
While Ashwin missed the Perth Test due to an abdominal strain, Rohit was forced to sit out of the XI after suffering a lower back injury while fielding at the Adelaide Oval.
Ashwin's injury made skipper Virat Kohli go with four seamers - Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, with Hanuma Vihari looking after the spin department as a part-time option. Vihari proved his worth with the ball, claiming the wickets of set batsmen Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh who were in full flow with the bat.
India lost the Perth Test by 146 runs as the Indian batsmen could not tackle the Aussie bowlers while chasing 287 runs for victory.
The heart of the matter
With the series level at 1-1, the Boxing Day Test to be played at the MCG is highly-anticipated as the side that goes on to win this game will have a firm hold on the series before heading to Sydney. India have now received a major boost as Ashwin started practising in the MCG nets after undergoing a fitness Test on Sunday (December 23).
Meanwhile, although Rohit Sharma has been declared fully fit ahead of the Boxing Day Test, it remains to be seen whether Kohli will opt for the Mumbaikar instead of Vihari.
This update would provide a huge relief for India going into the Boxing Day Test. Kohli would now have to put on his thinking cap while finalizing the XI, keeping in mind India's opening woes and the much talked about four-seamer tactic he deployed at Perth.