India trim squad for Ranchi, Dharamsala

Hardik Pandya drops out of Test squad, while Murali Vijay keeps his spot despite injury troubles

India's selectors have made just one change to their squad for the final two Tests of their four-match series against Australia, with opener Murali Vijay keeping his spot despite missing the second Test with a shoulder injury.

Allrounder Hardik Pandya is the only omission from the original 16-man squad picked for the first two matches of the series.

No replacement has been named for the 23-year-old, who has a shoulder injury of his own, in India's squad for the third and fourth Tests.

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Vijay missed the second Test in Bengaluru after hurting his left shoulder during the series-opener in Pune, but could recover in time to take his spot back from Abhinav Mukund at the top of the order.

There was no room for Mohammad Shami or Rohit Sharma, who have pushed their cases in Indian domestic cricket after recovering from respective injuries.

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Australia added allrounder Marcus Stoinis to their 16-man squad touring party after incumbent No.6 Mitch Marsh flew home with a shoulder injury after the second Test.

Stoinis is in line to make his Test debut in Ranchi on Thursday, but interim national selection panel chairman Trevor Hohns said he’s not an automatic replacement for Marsh.

Spinning allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar, as well as specialist batsman Usman Khawaja are also in line to come into the XI for Marsh.

The third Test runs from March 16-20, before the teams move to Dharamsala for the final match of the series on March 25, with both venues hosting Test cricket for the first time.

Test Squads

India (for third and fourth Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.

Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade

Australia's schedule in India

Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune - Australia won by 333 runs.

Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru - India won by 75 runs.

Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi

Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala