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India vs Australia 2017: India's predicted playing XI for the third Test

Virat Kohli as a captain is yet to field the same XI in two consecutive Tests and the trend is set to continue in the third Test

The wicket for the third Test between India and Australia

After levelling the four-match Test series 1-1 in Bengaluru, Team India will look to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the third Test that begins in Ranchi tomorrow. The 22-yard strip that will be used for this Test is the talking point ahead of the match and if reports are to believed, the wicket is set to assist the spinners with not much bounce on offer for the bowlers.

It won’t a surprise if both the teams go in to the Test with reinforcements in the spin department. 

Extra cover: Ranchi pitch goes under the scanner as first images appear

For India, this is a crucial match as the hosts crumbled in the first Test against Steve O’Keefe and then in the second Test to Nathan Lyon. Team India will make sure that such a dismal batting performance is not repeated in the series. Good news for the Indian fans is that Murali Vijay has recovered from his injury and is in line to make a comeback into the XI.

What will India’s bowling combination in the third Test be? Will Karun Nair play? Let us take a look at the predicted playing XI ahead of the Ranchi Test.


Openers

With 215 runs in 4 innings at an average of 53.75, Indian opener KL Rahul is the leading run scorer in this series. In spite of playing with a shoulder injury, it is highly unlikely that the Karnataka batsman will be rested for this crucial encounter. His opening partner’s role is up for grabs and there will be a toss-up between the Tamil Nadu duo of Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund.

The fans were in for a surprise when Kohli revealed that Vijay was ruled out of the Bengaluru Test due to a shoulder injury and Mukund replaced him. It was a golden chance for Mukund, who was playing his first Test match in 6 years, but the left-hander failed to cash it in as he had a forgettable outing which saw him score just 16 runs in two innings, including a duck in the first innings. 

With Vijay back to full fitness, it is certain that he will replace Mukund in the playing XI for the third Test. The team needs someone like Vijay at the top of the order on this wicket that is set to assist the spinners.

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