India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bowl against Australia in the World Test Championship final. The Rahul Dravid-coached side went in with a four-pronged pace attack and preferred Ravindra Jadeja over seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Also, KS Bharat was preferred over youngster Ishan Kishan as the wicketkeeper. In the batting department, Ajinkya Rahane made his return to the side after almost 18 months. Mohammad Shami will spearhead the pace attack, alongwith Mohammed Siraj, with Umesh Yadav as the third pacer. Shardul Thakur, too, found a place in the team. (WTC Final Day 1 Live Updates)
At the toss, Rohit explained the decision to drop Ashwin was taken keeping the overcast conditions in mind.
“We are going to bowl. Jjust the conditions and also the weather being overcast. I don’t think the pitch will change too much. You have to play good cricket and come out on top. Four seamers and one spinner. The spinner is Jadeja. It’s always tough (to leave Ashwin), he’s been a match-winner for us over the course of so many years. But you got to do the things that’s needed for the team and eventually we came up with that decision. He (Rahane) brings a lot of experience, he’s played 80-odd Test matches and he’s done well for the team. He’s been out for a while but but I don’t think the experience that he has can change all of tha,” Rohit said at the toss.
“We would have bowled as well, I don’t think it makes too much of a difference. Hopefully day four and five, there’s a bit of spin. You think it suits his (Boland) bowling, he’s in the same spot all day long. This wicket has a bit of grass, he’ll be a key weapon. We’ve been here for about 10 days. Pretty fresh, weather has been nice, we haven’t missed a session, feeling good,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said.
Teams: India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland.
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