In u-turn, R Ashwin's named in India's 13 for Sydney Test

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Former skipper Mark Taylor says Australia's chances to level the series against India hinge on dismissing the visiting side on the opening day of the fourth Test in Sydney.

The New Year's test has more often than not been a sun-drenched celebration of Australian cricketing domination but this year it looms as a desperate scrap to prevent India from finally exerting their superiority Down Under.

"If we think India were to play two spinners Pete could be a really important player for us", Paine said.

Australia's Aaron Finch is set to pay the price for his poor form
ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE APAustralia's Aaron Finch is set to pay the price for his poor form

Which 11 players will take up that challenge will not be known until Thursday's toss but what is certain is that batsman Rohit Sharma, who has returned home for the birth of his first child, and injured quick Ishant Sharma will not be among them. However, Australia (3467) have faced more balls than India (3386) in the series so far.

Ishant is experiencing some left rib cage discomfort and the team management did not want to risk him during the fourth Test match in Sydney.

With Australia's batting line-up struggling for runs, Taylor says a large first innings from Virat Kohli's side will put the match beyond reach.

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The last time a touring party turned up at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a test series still up for grabs was in the 2010-2011 Ashes and, eight years on, there was a similar "fin de siecle" feeling about the place on Wednesday. He is very disappointed with the fact that he has not been able to recover in time, but the things have been laid out to him (as to) what needs to be done to get back to full fitness.

In Rohit Sharma's absence, out-of-favour opener KL Rahul could be slated for a comeback after missing out in Melbourne, with Hanuma Vihari slotting down to his number six spot.

Labuschagne batted at No 6 in his debut series in the UAE but has cut his teeth in state ranks at first drop on the Gabba, the country's bounciest and most pace-friendly pitch.

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Additionally, this 13-man shortlist can also be seen as a ploy to keep Australia guessing, for the hosts made a departure from norm and decided not to name their playing eleven for the first time in this series. If anyone looked doubtful for selection during India's training session it was Shami, who arrived at the ground on a hot summer's Sydney day in a jacket and flip-flops and did not take part in any of the drills performed.

The counter to that argument would be the preference to go "horses-for-courses" under the Kohli-Ravi Shastri regime; Kohli did go 38 Tests without naming an unchanged XI before the Southampton Test during the tour to England.

Australia have added batting all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to their squad. "We know we're not going to win Test matches without scoring hundreds", he said.

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But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million visitors flocked see the country's sites. The bomb went off at about 18:15 (16:45 GMT) on Maryoutiya Street in Giza's Haram district, the interior ministry says.

Australia (from): Tim Paine (captain), Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh, Peter Siddle.

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