The fourth and final Test of an intriguing series between Australia and India gets underway at the SCG today, with the tourists searching for their first series victory on Australian soil in history.
Irrespective of the result of the toss, India will rely on their premier batsmen Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, as they are the only batsmen with an average of 25-plus in India's away Test wins in 2018 among players who were part of at least three Test wins. But Kohli's team has already reached a position where it can not lose the series and will go all out to close the Sydney match on a winning note to justify its position as the top-ranked Test team.
Ravi Ashwin has been given a chance to prove his fitness on the morning of the match but they may be reluctant to select him so Ravindra Jadeja could get the nod once again while Ishant Sharma is ruled out with injury so Umesh Yadav is believed to be the likely replacement for him.
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.
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.
Additionally, one more win will take Kohli ahead of Ganguly, who led India to 11 wins in 28 overseas Tests.
"Well, it's unfortunate that Ashwin has had two niggles quite similar in the last couple of away tours (England and now Australia)".
Paine said it was crucial that the batsmen play their part in Sydney, with none of them getting more than 50 in Melbourne with the exception of tailender Pat Cummins. "He is very important for sure". On Tuesday, as the Indian and Australian teams reached the official residence of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on the occasion of the New Year's Day, Kohli was introduced as a "cricket crush". We need him to be 100 per cent fit. "You can't really predict an injury when it happens, you can just manage it", he added. "I think it [Ashwin's absence] does make you alter your plans a little bit throughout the course of a series".
Skipper Tim Paine said that they would wait to announce the team until the toss, taking into consideration if India opt to play two full-time spinners.
The Sydney pitch is often termed as one of flattest pitches in the country.
Rohit Sharma has recently become a father.