Ravi Ashwin took to the SCG nets on Tuesday to try and prove his fitness.
Ravi Ashwin took to the SCG nets on Tuesday to try and prove his fitness.

India’s mind games over Ashwin availability

SPIN star Ravi Ashwin's desperate bid to play in the fourth Test is all but over despite the Indian cricket board saying selectors will make a call on the morning of day one at the SCG.

Ashwin was originally ruled out on Wednesday after succumbing to an ongoing abdominal strain that forced him out of the last two Tests.

The Indian master, once described by Steve Waugh as 'the Bradman of bowlers', underwent a last-ditch fitness test the SCG on Tuesday to try and prove he has overcome the injury that's kept him out since the first Test of the series.

"A decision on R Ashwin's availability will be taken on the morning of the Test," the Indian cricket board (BCCI) posted on Twitter.

Ashwin bowled in the indoor nets as the Australians trained outdoors, with no other Indian players practising two days out from the finale.

"It's unfortunate that he's had two niggles that are quite similar in the last two away tours," India captain Virat Kohli said.

"He's very important for sure. In Test cricket he's a vital part of this team and we wanted him to be 100 per cent fit for a longer period to that he can come back to us in the Test format.

"He is very disappointed that he's not able to recover in time."

Ravi Ashwin was described by Steve Waugh as
Ravi Ashwin was described by Steve Waugh as "the Bradman of bowlers". Picture: Getty Images

Last year when India had a rare shot at beating England in the UK, as they do of creating history in Sydney this week, Ashwin played the pivotal fourth Test in Southampton at 80 per cent fitness and broke down midway through the match.

It cruelled India's chances and England took an unassailable 3-1 lead into the last Test.

Virat Kohli's chargers only needs a draw in Sydney to head home 2-1 victors as the first-ever Indian side to win a series in Australia.

Left-arm spinner Ravi Jadeja was outstanding in the fourth Test in Melbourne and India would be hesitant to weaken the batting to play two spinners in Sydney when the low-risk option is to at least ensure the match is drawn.

India will need to make at least one change to the team that won in Melbourne with middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who hit a gritty 63 in the first innings, jetting back to Mumbai after his wife gave birth to a daughter.