In their quest to take an unassailable 2-0 lead and inch closer towards a first ever Test series win in Australia, India has been dealt with twin blows as star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma have been ruled out of the second Test in Perth starting December 14.
Ashwin, who put in a brilliant bowling performance by taking six wickets in Adelaide as India won the first Test by 31 runs, will miss the upcoming fixture due to a side strain. As for Rohit, who looked encouraging with the bat in the first innings, he has been sidelined with a back injury.
The news was confirmed after the BCCI announced the squad for the second Test, with both the players not featuring in the 13-member list. While Hanuma Vihari looks set to be the likely replacement for Rohit in the playing XI, there is a huge dilemma ahead for Virat Kohli as to who should come in place of Ashwin.
If India decide to go in for a like to like change, then Ravindra Jadeja will be drafted into the team. But should Kohli go in with four pace bowlers, given the nature of the pitch at Perth, then there will be a faceoff between Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India squad for second Test: Virat Kohli (c), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav