Desperate Australia to pull SCG test selection shock with new No 3

Virat Kohli's team set to decimate Australia in Sydney Test despite Ravichandran Ashwin's injury

The Indian and Australian cricketers were all wearing black armbands on Day 1 of the fourth Test encounter in Sydney.

Follow all the action in our live blog below.

With Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal, who made his Test debut in the Melbourne match, standing tall with the bat, a historic first awaits Team India in the New Year.

Despite the absence of two of their most prolific run-scorers - Steve Smith and David Warner, the duo that had scored almost 40% of the team's total during India's visit to Australia in 2014 - credit must be given to Kohli's men if they go on to win the ongoing series, considering the history attached to the encounters between the two teams.

This was not about making history, he said, more about proving that a team already ranked number one in the world in tests could do the business on the rock hard wickets of Australia as well as the slow, brown pitches of home.

Ishant Sharma was ruled out due to an injury and wasn't named in the 13-member shortlist which was announced on the eve of the game.

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Ishant is out after experiencing discomfort in his left rib cage and the team management didn't want to risk him by playing him in the decider. What will, however, be in their favour is the doubt over off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who is suffering from an abdominal strain sustained during the fourth day of the first Test in Adelaide. "He is very important for sure". In Test cricket, he's a vital part of this team and we wanted him to be 100 percent fit for a longer period to that he can come back to us in the Test format.

With the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav, the two spinners will in all likelihood bamboozle the Australian batsmen.

What followed was a period of lull, that helped Kohli get his eye in, and all that stood compensated towards the end of the session, when Pujara and Kohli feasted on some exhausted bowling from the spinners.

Australia can at best hope to level the series but with a batting line-up that has failed to stand up to a disciplined and penetrative Indian attack, the odds are stacked against the hosts.

For Australia, batsman Peter Handscomb is expected to make a comeback for Mitchell Marsh, who has come under severe criticism after his poor shot selection in Melbourne. If Finch is left out, Usman Khawaja will open with Marcus Harris, and Labuschagne slotting in the middle-order.

Now then. It's been all but confirmed that Marnus Labuschagne will bat at No3. "We shared a laugh as we remembered the old times", said the "Master Blaster".

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