This is how India's Playing XI might look like against Australia in the fourth Test in Dharamsala.
New Delhi, March 23: As the third Test between India and Australia in Ranchi ended in a draw, the fourth and final tie is going to be a series decider as it is levelled 1-1 at the moment.
With the series evenly poised between the two teams, the winner will claim the series. The two teams would lock horns for one last time at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala, starting Saturday (March 25).
The momentum would have shifted into the favour of Australia after Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb salvaged a draw and kept the visitors' fourtunes afloat.
The mind games have once again spiked up, after Australia played for a draw on the fifth and final day of the third Test. With Australian media consistently attacking India skipper Virat Kohli for his aggression and calling him names every passing day, former cricketers have been attacking him.
The fourth and deciding Test will be held in the picturesque Dharamsala Stadium situated in the hilly terrains of the Himalayas.
Since, conditions in Dharamsala stadium have always favoured pacers, India, thus, face a bowling conundrum. The Indian team management would be brain storming heavily over what should be the winning combination in a must-win Test match.
Similarly, Australia too must be strategising whether to play three pacers or stick to their strategy of two quicks and two spinners.
Keeping in mind the Dharamsala strip and captain Kohli's penchant for not repeating the same Playing XI, one feels there will be a couple of changes in the Indian side.
The 28-year-old India skipper would be hoping to win the fourth Test and claim the Border Gavaskar Trophy and bring a happy ending to a 17 Test long season.
KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
The young Karnataka batsman has been the second highest run-getter for the side in the ongoing series against Australia.
The 24-year-old has scored 64, 10, 90, 51 and 67 in the five innings of this series.
Rahul has been in a perfect nick against Australia and got off to a good start, but the right-handed batsman has failed to capitalise upon the good start and convert those fifties into hundreds. This must have hurt the young Karnataka lad who is still waiting to play a big knock at home soil.
Thus, Lokesh Rahul will once again opening the Indian innings at Dharamsala.
The regular India opener from Tamil Nadu came back into the side in the third Test after recovering from the shoulder injury.
He made the most of the comeback, as he scored 82 and felt 18 short of a well deserved hundred.
Vijay played exceptionally well in India's response to Australia's first innings total of 451 in the first innings. Vijay along with Cheteshwar Pujara batted with patience till the last over before lunch on Day 3 when he was stumped while attempting a big shot.
Vijay will once again open the Indian innings against Australia in Dharamsala Test.
The man of the match of the third Test match, Cheteshwar Pujara, who played a mammoth 11-hour knock in Ranchi has fixed his position at No. 3.
The Saurashtra batsman played a patient knock of 202 and consumed record 525 deliveries, most by an Indian batsman in a Test innings, to frustrate the Australian bowlers.
Pujara slammed his second double hundred against Australia and joined the elite club of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
Before Ranchi, it was Pujara's defiant 92-run knock in Bengaluru which laid the foundation stone of India's win the second Test.
Therefore, he would once again be coming to bat at No. 3 in the fourth Test.
The Indian skipper hasn't been in his best of form in this series so far. The 28-year-old has been in news more out of controversies and the injury he sustained in Ranchi, than his batting.
Also read: PCB not in favour of four-day Tests