New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: India on Wednesday announced its playing XI for the third test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia beginning on January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Rohit Sharma will open innings for the visitors with Shubman Gill, while Mayank Agarwal has been benched after failing to make a mark in the first two tests. 

28-year-old Navdeep Saini will make his debut in the longest format of the game in the absence of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav. The management has decided to play five bowlers -- Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, and Saini -- after India's eight-wicket win the second test on the back of stellar bowling performance. 

Playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini. 

Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane has said Rohit Sharma will be seen batting at the top of the innings in the third test. Sharma will playing his first international match after the pandemic plunged the spoting calender into disarray.

"First, we are all excited to have Rohit back. His experience at the highest level matters a lot. He is batting really well at the nets and has had seven-eight seasons. He started practising in Melbourne as soon as he arrived there after the end of the second Test. He has been batting really well. The last couple of series, he has been playing as an opener, so you will definitely see him batting at the top," Rahane said during a virtual press conference, as quoted in a report by news agency ANI. 

The third test will be played from January 7 at the SCG. The visitors had won the previous encounter by eight wickets. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja