Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and opted to bat first against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. The four-match series is currently locked at one-all after India bounced back in Melbourne for an eight-wicket win in December.

India, who had already announced their playing XI on Wednesday, have given debut to Navdeep Saini with Rohit Sharma finally entering the playing XI having successfully completed his quarantine period which forced him to miss the opening two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Australia have also a debutant in Will Pucovski who has recovered from a concussion and will make his Test bow today. The hosts, expectedly, welcomed back David Warner whose fitness has been the subject of much speculation with coach Justin Langer terming him a warrior who will battle through the pain and bat if the need arises.

India captain Ajinkya Rahane is happy with the return of Rohit and expects Saini to do well.

“Very happy for him (Rohit), as a team, we are excited to have him back,” Rahane said at the toss.

He continued, “I am really happy for him (Saini). He’s worked really hard, been doing really well in the domestic circuit.”

Paine acknowledged Australia need improvement in certain departments. “We have got areas to improve. We know where to improve. We haven’t played our best cricket so far this series. David Warner back in the side brings energy. Pucovski has been around for a year. We know the talent he’s got,” he said.

Playing XIs

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Australia: David Warner, Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (captain and wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood