Shikhar Dhawan gets India debut

  • Last Updated: March 13 2013, 11:17 GMT

India will hand a debut to batsman Shikhar Dhawan in the third Test as they look to further put the boot into an Australia side facing a mountain of problems.

Shikhar Dhawan: Will make India debut

The tourists' preparations for the match in Mohali are in disarray both on and off the pitch.

The decision to drop Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson for disciplinary reasons means coach Mickey Arthur has only 12 players to choose from.

In addition, wicket-keeper Matthew Wade has an ankle injury with Brad Haddin called up as replacement if needed.

On the pitch, Australia trail 2-0 in the four-Test series after heavy defeats in the opening two matches, the second by an innings and 135 runs, and they will be looking to salvage a draw with some much-improved performances.

In comparison, India come into the Test on the back of two outstanding performances and with the luxury of being able to name a debutant in their line-up.

Dhawan will open the batting in place of the experienced Virender Sehwag, who has been dropped after a dip in form, and the 27-year-old is looking to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

"The confidence of the team is high but as our coach (Duncan Fletcher) told us, we have to start afresh," he told reporters.

"We had a break after the second Test, so we want to go with the same attitude and same energy on the field as we did before the start of the series.

"I was very happy to hear the news (of my selection). I just want to grab this opportunity.

"Of course I was waiting for this day, but I don't have any pressure right now. I am happy that whatever I dreamt of achieving, I have done that."

Dhawan was reluctant to discuss Australia's well-documented problems, but believes they can cope with the absence of Pattinson.

"We don't know what's going on with them," he said. "But their fast bowlers have always been good.

"Even if there is no Pattinson, there will be someone who can step up for them.

"Pace has always been their strength. We have to play good cricket irrespective of what kind of attack we are up against."

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a double century in the second Test, suffered a knee injury in the nets earlier this week but is expected to be fit in time.

Australia skipper Michael Clarke had already said he will move up the batting order from number five following the mauling in Hyderabad, and his presence will be needed even more in the absence of vice-captain Watson.

Despite the upheaval and negative press, Arthur is hoping the players can put their recent troubles to one side and focus on their cricket instead.

"We now must look ahead to the third Test," he said.

"It's going to be far, far from easy but our new goal is to try and level this series and somehow manage to take the Border-Gavaskar Trophy back home with us.

"People will say we're kidding ourselves and there is no doubt it's going to be a big ask, but now is the start of that turning point where we take our on and off field standards as high as we can."


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