India wield the axe as Australia recall Mitchell Marsh for Boxing Day test

India wield the axe as Australia recall Mitchell Marsh for Boxing Day test
CHRIS HYDE/ GETTY IMAGESAustralia allarounder Mitch Marsh has been recalled for the Boxing Day test against India.

Australia have recalled allrounder Mitch Marsh for the Boxing Day cricket test against India, dropping struggling batsman Peter Handscomb. India have responded dramatically to their loss to Australia in Perth, remarkably dropping both of their openers among three changes. The tourists announced their XI on the eve of the third test at the MCG, dropping KL Rahul and Murali Vijay as well as paceman Umesh Yadav. Star offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin has again been ruled out, having not fully recovered from the abdominal strain that sidelined him in Perth. READ MORE:

* Tim Southee targets more wickets at Hagley hunting ground Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja comes into the XI after missing the first two tests, batsman Rohit Sharma has been recalled and Mayank Agarwal is set to make his debut. It is the second time in as many years Handscomb has been dropped two tests into the summer, with Marsh's part-time seamers getting him the nod. Skipper Tim Paine acknowledged on the eve of the test that Handscomb needed to work on the technical side of his game after falling cheaply in Adelaide and Perth. "I'm sure Pete would be upset," Paine told reporters. "I think he's had conversations with the selectors that there's a few things that they would like him to work on and Pete is open to that. "Obviously it's a long series and our bowlers have had a really big workload. We feel that we're going to need Mitch's bowling at some point." "We know that Pete at his best is going to score a lot of test runs. He brings a hell of a lot to our side. We love having him around the group and I'm sure he'll score a lot more runs for Australia." Rahul and Murali, averaging 12 and 12.25 for the series respectively, had been under pressure to hold their spots with the series tied 1-1. But the decision to axe both openers smacks of panic for an Indian side which has relied heavily on Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane for runs during the series. Agarwal appears likely to open alongside Hanuma Vihari, who batted at No 6 in Perth but is considered well suited to moving up the order. Jadeja was ruled out for the first two tests after having injections in his shoulder but has since proven his fitness. Pace-bowling allrounder Hardik Pandya joined the squad in Melbourne but has been overlooked, having played just one first-class game since September. Last time the sides met in a Boxing Day fixture, a lifeless MCG pitch ensured there was no prospect of anything other than a draw. Kohli was optimistic enough work had been done on the pitch to ensure a result. "Seeing the pitch now, it has much more grass than it had last time," Kohli told reporters prior to the XI being announced. AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood. INDIA:Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.

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