The final Test of the summer begins on January 6th with Australia looking to wrap the series up 3-0 following the drawn Boxing Day Test.
India will be without newly retired captain, MS Dhoni, after the Indian legend shocked the cricket world and pulled the pin on his career following the end of the Fourth Test.
Australia though will have a peek into life without Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson after the left arm paceman was ruled out of the Test due to hamstring soreness. He’s replaced by Mitchell Starc.
The Sydney Test will likely be an emotional match for the Australians given that it will be the first time the Australian players will have played there following the death of teammate, Phil Hughes, back in November, 2014.
A permanent placard has been erected in the SCG Members’ area for Hughes, who called the SCG home when he began his First Class career.
There were rumours going into the Test that left arm finger spinner, Ashton Agar, would partner Nathan Lyon has a spinning duo but sense prevailed with Agar being named 12th man.
Despite being seen as a spinner’s wicket, only two spin duos have collected 12 wickets or more in a match in the last 20 years. Those two being Shane Warne/Stuart MacGill and Anil Kumble/Harbhajan Singh.
This match is also likely to be Chris Rogers’ final Test match on home soil with the wily veteran hinting that he will retire following this year’s Ashes series in England.
Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli present as India’s best chances with the bat whilst Australia’s fielders will help to put in a better performance after they put down a number of chances that could have won them the last match.
Ryan Harris will have to shoulder more of the burden with the ball as he leads the pace battery in the absence of Mitchell Johnson.
David Warner and Steve Smith will look to continue their terrific summers and Chris Rogers will hope to bid farewell to Australia in style.
Shane Watson has acknowledged that his position is under threat, having passed 50 just once in the past 12 months.
Another failure in this match and the returns of Mitchell Marsh and Michael Clarke could see Watson dropped from the side.
As the Australians will tell you, there is no such thing as a dead rubber. Australia will want to wrap the series up 3-0 and keep pressure on South Africa in the battle for the Number One Test ranking whilst the Indians will want to post their first win on Australian soil since 2008 when they defeated Australia at the WACA.