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Australia vs India 2018-19: India on the cusp of history as action moves to Sydney 

ANALYST
Feature
01 Jan 2019, 18:49 IST

India need to avoid a loss at Sydney in order to clinch their maiden series win on Australian soil
India need to avoid a loss at Sydney in order to clinch their maiden series win on Australian soil

The fourth and final Test of the 2018-19 Australia versus India series is almost upon us. The upcoming Test at Sydney might be one of the most significant matches in India's cricketing history. India might have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the third test match at the MCG but a series win in Australia would mark a watershed moment in their Test history.

With in-form batsmen and a firing bowling attack, India is currently on a high. With the introduction of Mayank Agarwal at the top of the order, their opening woes might have been resolved.

India now need to draw the final test match to win the series 2-1. But skipper Virat Kohli will definitely want to go for the kill and take the series by an even more convincing 3-1 margin. Australia are in all sorts of trouble and their misfiring batting lineup is their biggest problem.

In the current series, none of the Australian batsmen have reached the three-figure mark. They would be sorely disappointed with their performance and would look to improve as an unit at Sydney in order to prevent India from winning the series.

The pitch at the SCG is expected to favour spinners. Hence, Australia have included leg-spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne in the squad. The South Africa-born cricketer had featured for the Aussies in their two Test matches in UAE against Pakistan during 2018.

While no one has been dropped from the Australian squad which was at MCG, there will be changes to the playing XI as indicated by skipper Tim Paine. Most probably, Mitchell Marsh might face the axe and Labuschagne would slot in as the spin all-rounder.

India would have wanted to go ahead with an unchanged XI in the final Test. However, Rohit Sharma is unavailable as he is flying back home after the birth of his child. There are three probabilities for the one place and everything completely depends on what Kohli wants.

If the pitch is spin-friendly, Ashwin might have enter the playing eleven. If it is flat, Hardik Pandya could come into the lineup. Another probability is KL Rahul returning to the opening slot and Hanuma Vihari taking up Rohit's spot in the middle-order.

India would also want to improve their record at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Till now out of 11 Test matches they have played at SCG, India have managed to win only one Test match (in 1977-78).

If India is able to win or draw the final Test at Sydney, they will create history by becoming the first Asian team to win a Test series on Australian soil.

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