Old rivals: Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh.
Old rivals: Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh.

Ganguly revels in Waugh’s Instagram post

STEVE Waugh's naming of a new look XI for the SCG Test proves Australian cricket is at its lowest ebb, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly says.

Waugh revealed the batting line-up he believed the besieged Aussies should take into Sydney in an Instagram post on Monday and it did not include Aaron Finch.

In Waugh's reshaped XI, Shaun Marsh would replace Finch as Marcus Harris's opening partner, and Travis Head and Tim Paine would also be pushed up the order.

Marnus Labuschagne would return at six, moving Mitch Marsh to the top of the tail.

Ganguly didn't offer an opinion on Waugh's changes, but said the fact a former skipper had attempted to "give direction" via Instagram showed "Australian cricket selection (was) at its lowest ever".

Pat Cummins, who starred with bat and ball in a losing effort in Melbourne, remains at No.8 in Waugh's XI - a position he's happy with.

"I am pretty happy at number eight," Cummins said. "It is a bit easier when I walk in and the bowlers have already bowled a few spells and the ball is a bit older. It is a much tougher job at the top of the order."

Australian coach Justin Langer suggested conditions would dictate the team but he wasn't sure what to expect in Sydney.

"We're interested to see what we're going to get in Sydney ... it's been a bit inconsistent," Langer said.

"It was very flat (for India's tour game) and it was very flat in the Sheffield Shield game there a few weeks ago.

"We certainly hope it's not (flat). You want to see a contest between bat and ball."

India will make at least one change due to batsman Rohit Sharma returning home following the birth of his first child.

Sharma left Melbourne shortly after India's 137-run victory in the third Test, where the middle-order batsman made 63 not out in the first innings. The tourists took a 2-1 series lead and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

The 31-year-old will return to Sydney on January 8 for the start of the three-match ODI series that follows the final Test.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay are the likely options to replace Sharma in the batting line-up as India seeks to complete its first series victory in Australia.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, with four Test centuries, is another option to replace Sharma on the expected spin-friendly SCG pitch.

- with AP


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