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Happy Ravindra Jadeja is playing the Boxing Day Test, tweets Sanjay Manjrekar

The third Test will be key for both sides, especially for India if they want to keep the hope of winning a Test series in Australia alive.

Sanjay Manjrekar
(Photo Source: ESPNcricinfo)

India were all prepared for the ‘Boxing Day’ against Australia as they announced the playing XI for the third Test in Melbourne starting Wednesday on the eve of the match. The visitors got rid of both their out-of-form openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay and included Mayank Agarwal who will make his debut in the game.

The other players who returned to the side are Rohit Sharma, who missed the second match in Perth because of an injury, and Ravindra Jadeja, who will play his first game of the series. The other player from the Perth XI who sits out for this game is pacer Umesh Yadav.

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Ravichandran Ashwin, who played in the first Test in Adelaide and took six wickets, failed to recover from his abdominal strain for the third Test and that made way for Jadeja, who is also a decent bat. A controversy erupted over not picking the left-arm spinner for the Perth Test and head coach Ravi Shastri’s subsequent explanation that the cricketer had a stiff shoulder even though he was seen fielding as a substitute in Perth.

Not much difference between two on SENA wickets

Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar backed the move of picking Jadeja for the crucial third Test and has cited statistical figures to suggest that the latter has not done too bad than Ashwin in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries even though he has played much lesser compared to his right-arm fellow spinner.

While Ashwin has taken 48 wickets in 27 innings in those countries at an average of 43.37 and strike rate of 90, Jadeja has taken 25 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 43.56 and strike rate of 92.2.

In batting also, Jadeja does better than Ashwin averaging over 32 in Tests compared to the latter’s 29, even though the off-spinner has four centuries in the longer format. And not to forget Jadeja’s exemplary fielding skills. The third Test will be key for both sides, especially for India if they want to keep the hope of winning a Test series in Australia alive.

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